Scott Pruitt, scandal-plagued Trump-era EPA head, is running for Senate in Oklahoma

Mr Pruitt is known for having abused his security detail while serving as EPA administrator

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Friday 15 April 2022 20:44 BST
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The former Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency boss who resigned amid a series of bizarre scandals related to his use of federal resources is looking to return to government service as a US senator from Oklahoma.

Scott Pruitt, who ran the EPA from 2017 to July 2018 and previously served as the Sooner State’s attorney general, filed paperwork this week to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator James Inhofe.

Mr Pruitt joins Oklahoma Representative Markwayne Mullin, ex-Oklahoma House Speaker TW Shannon, and former chief of staff to Mr Inhofe, Luke Holland, in a crowded primary field.

The GOP attorney became widely known in conservative circles during his tenure as Oklahoma’s top law enforcement official for the myriad lawsuits he filed against the Obama administration, but became a reviled figure during his time leading the EPA for his profligate spending and penchant for secrecy and grandiosity.

In one memorable incident, Mr Pruitt was found to have asked members of his security detail to search the city for a type of moisturiser found at Ritz-Carlton hotels, and to purchase for him a used mattress from then-president Donald Trump’s Washington DC hotel.

His security detail also drew scrutiny for its sheer size, which dwarfed the protective details provided to previous EPA administrators.

Mr Pruitt was also accused of abusing his position by pressuring Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to grant his wife, Marilyn Pruitt, a restaurant franchise, and of spending exorbitant amounts of federal funds on travel, often on first class tickets and luxury hotels in spite of government regulations requiring lower-cost options.

He also drew rebukes from the Government Accountability Office for having spent $43,000 of taxpayer funds on a soundproof booth for his office, ostensibly to prevent career officials he deemed hostile to his agenda from listening in on his conversations.

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