Scan­dals? What scan­dals?

Mr. Pruitt is proof that wrong­do­ing doesn’t mat­ter in the Trump era.

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

WITH THE Trump era’s con­stant churn and chaos, what would be ca­reer-end­ing scan­dals in any other time do not get the sus­tained at­ten­tion they de­serve. The proof: En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt, who con­tin­ues to serve though seem­ingly ev­ery day a new story emerges about his petty cor­rup­tion, al­most com­i­cal were it not so con­temp­tu­ous of eth­i­cal pub­lic ser­vice.

The week be­gan with a story about Mr. Pruitt’s mis­use of a govern­ment em­ployee’s time on strange per­sonal mat­ters. It had al­ready been re­ported that the ad­min­is­tra­tor had en­listed Mil­lan Hupp, his re­cently de­parted di­rec­tor of sched­ul­ing and ad­vance, to search for Wash­ing­ton-area homes for him. Then, on Mon­day, two Demo­cratic law­mak­ers sent a let­ter to House Over­sight Com­mit­tee Chair­man Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) re­veal­ing that Ms. Hupp last Septem­ber con­tacted the Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel ask­ing whether Mr. Pruitt could buy a used Trump Home Lux­ury Plush Euro Pil­low Top mat­tress. Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, Ms. Hupp also planned the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s trip to Cal­i­for­nia to see the Ok­la­homa Soon­ers play in the Rose Bowl.

The govern­ment does not hire ser­vants to do me­nial pri­vate tasks for Cab­i­net mem­bers. In fact, fed­eral rules for­bid sub­or­di­nates even from vol­un­teer­ing their time to call around about used mat­tresses, bar­ring dona­tions or gifts to su­pe­ri­ors.

On Tues­day, The Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Brady Den­nis and Josh Dawsey re­ported that Mr. Pruitt had Ms. Hupp’s sis­ter, Syd­ney Hupp, also an EPA em­ployee at the time, con­tact the chief ex­ec­u­tive of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A to ar­range a meet­ing. The sub­ject: ob­tain­ing a restaurant fran­chise for Mr. Pruitt’s wife, Mar­lyn. A phone call was ar­ranged, then can­celed, and the ad­min­is­tra­tor even­tu­ally spoke with the restaurant chain’s le­gal de­part­ment, only then re­veal­ing what he wanted. Ms. Pruitt never be­came a fran­chisee. But she did ben­e­fit from an­other in­stance of her hus­band’s in­side-track ad­vo­cacy, get­ting a tem­po­rary event-plan­ning gig from Con­cor­dia, a non­profit, after Mr. Pruitt reached out to its boss.

Not only are these new ex­am­ples of the ad­min­is­tra­tor mis­us­ing EPA staff time, they also show that Mr. Pruitt tried to lever­age his high of­fice to ob­tain busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for his wife. This is in keep­ing with Mr. Pruitt’s record, start­ing with his time as a politi­cian in Ok­la­homa, of ag­gres­sively pur­su­ing fa­vors, perks and other baubles as he as­cended the ranks of govern­ment.

The week ended with yet more re­ports that Mr. Pruitt or­dered staff to pick up his dry clean­ing and get him snacks.

Mr. Pruitt’s EPA has spent lav­ishly on a 24-hour se­cu­rity de­tail, first-class air­line tick­ets and for­eign trips that had lit­tle to do with his job as the na­tion’s top en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard. He has ob­tained costly ren­o­va­tions to his of­fice, in­clud­ing a $43,000 sound­proof booth in which Mr. Pruitt could con­duct pri­vate meet­ings — to­tally un­nec­es­sary be­cause there were al­ready se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tions rooms at EPA head­quar­ters. He has main­tained un­to­ward re­la­tion­ships with lob­by­ists, in­clud­ing one whose wife rented Mr. Pruitt a Capitol Hill condo on ex­tremely gen­er­ous terms.

Mr. Pruitt is the em­bod­i­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump’s hypocrisy on the Wash­ing­ton “swamp.” The pres­i­dent has not drained the swamp; he has deep­ened the sleazi­ness.

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