Pruitt Scandals Highlight Need for Congress to Act to Ensure Accountability, Inform the Public

WASHINGTON – Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, criticized the latest case of excessive secrecy at the Environmental Protection Agency, in response to reports that Director Scott Pruitt hid meetings with industry representatives and others from the public.

A CNN report, based on EPA documents as well as an interview with an EPA whistleblower, uncovered several meetings in which EPA Director Pruitt sat down with industry representatives or other government officials, but which were not disclosed in the public version of Pruitt’s calendar. Meetings included a dinner at Trump International Hotel with coal industry executives as well as a meeting with a top Vatican official who is a known climate change-denier and is facing allegations of sexual abuse.

“By hiding Pruitt’s meetings with industry, it’s clear the EPA is more interested in evading accountability and embarrassment than in being responsive to the public.” said Lisa Rosenberg. “Congress needs to act to make publishing complete, accurate calendars of top officials a legal requirement. The American public has a right to know which special interests are influencing policymakers.”

Pruitt’s apparent secret calendar also raises questions about whether records are being appropriately preserved according to the law. Although the EPA is not currently legally required to release Pruitt’s full calendar to the public, they are legally required to preserve a complete record internally.

Open the Government is an inclusive, nonpartisan coalition that works to strengthen our democracy and empower the public by advancing policies that create a more open, accountable, and responsive government. 

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Submitted by emanna on 07/05/2018