Scott Pruitt has been a busy man, at the EPA. It’s hard to understand how he gets any work done, between ordering his staff to try to procure him a used Trump mattress, or the perfect lotion, or ridiculously expensive custom fountain pens, or driving over to the White House with his Oklahoma buddies to eat lunches he doesn’t have to pay for.
But we’re not likely to get much more understanding of how Pruitt does his ostensible day job anytime soon, because Freedom of Information Act or no Freedom of Information Act, Scott Pruitt has instituted a new policy to make sure you and I aren’t able to find out.
In a letter to Pruitt obtained by ABC News, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said several of Pruitt’s former staffers have testified their policy was to prioritize document requests for EPA records made during the Obama administration – before addressing any from during Pruitt’s tenure.
Normally, this is not how FOIA document processing works; documents that are easier to procure are often sent out before more complex FOIA requests are completed, regardless of their order in the backlog. So this new policy of Pruitt’s just happens to have the effect of delaying records releases related to Scott Pruitt’s at-this-point-astonishingly-crooked tenure until EPA staffers have combed through every last request from the Obama days.
Which is, if you are an official seeking to avoid oversight until you can get your grifting ass out of Dodge, a neat trick.
There’s another new addition to records processing Pruitt has added as well.
The letter also indicated the agency had been allowing political appointees – instead of career employees — to review responses to records requests before releasing anything, according to internal documents produced in a lawsuit from the National Resources Defense Council.
So not only are records requests relating to Pruitt being willfully blocked on pretext of going through all other requests first, he’s got his own political team looking them over before they go out. The man is certainly thorough, if nothing else. It’s hard to believe a man so willing to dabble in the small details has such a hard time finding a used mattress.