Congressional Western Caucus calls attention to abuses of former administrators Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy…
(John Wynne, Liberty Headlines) Exorbitant travel costs, and excessive spending on security detail – those are the charges being leveled at current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Yet according to a press release from the Congressional Western Caucus, the EPA saw far worse scandals under the leadership of Obama appointees Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy – and tellingly, these incidents were completely ignored by those who now call for Pruitt’s ouster.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), chairman of the caucus, said: “EPA Administrator Pruitt has proven himself one of the most effective Cabinet members in the Trump administration … because he is an important part of the ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda, it should come as no surprise that a lynch mob of opportunistic politicians and certain members of the media are doing everything they can to attempt to remove him from office.”
Gosar’s comments were echoed by many other Republican members of Congress who released statements of their own in support of Pruitt.
In addition to highlighting the various achievements of the EPA under the former Oklahoma attorney general, the Congressional Western Caucus also reminded critics of major scandals involving the EPA under the Obama administration that were swept under the rug by the mainstream media.
Two EPA administrators served under Obama.
The first of his EPA administrators was Lisa Jackson, who served from 2009 to 2013.
The second was Gina McCarthy, who served from 2013 to 2017.
Despite numerous controversies during their years in office, neither were forced to step down.
Notably, Jackson spent more than $332,000 on four overseas trips, while McCarthy spent over $600,000 on flights and security in her international travels.
The caucus said this spending, though comparable to Pruitt’s, went completely ignored.
And, reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, Jackson corresponded with staff, conducting official EPA business, exclusively under the alias “Richard Windsor.” (The name came from that of a family dog.)
According to POLITICO, some lawmakers suspected Jackson used the alias to avoid congressional oversight and public records laws.
Her successor, McCarthy, used equally dubious methods of communication, conducting business via text messages.
Later, she destroyed the records of her correspondence, a flagrant violation of federal recordkeeping laws.
McCarthy later reported she deleted 6,000 text messages, but only one of them was related to agency business – a claim that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) found implausible.
The Congressional Western Caucus release also stated that McCarthy was in charge during the Gold King Mine spill, when EPA workers destroyed a plug that was holding water back at an abandoned Colorado mine.
This eventually unleashed three million gallons of toxic waste into a waterway that served three Western states.
While McCarthy called the disaster a “tragic and unfortunate incident,” her agency refused to accept responsibility and tried to cover up the fact that they were aware of the risks of a blowout.
Rob Gordon, writing for the Daily Signal, detailed the events in the article “Exposing the EPA’s Gold King Mine Cover-Up” in which he described the agency’s accounts of what led to the spill as “wrong, and most, if not all, are intentionally deceitful.”
Under the Obama administration, the EPA also protected disgraced employees from punishment.
The most stunning example of this was a convicted child molester who was employed by the EPA for years in a position which involved extensive interaction with the public, detailed in a report by the Daily Caller.
In addition to being convicted of indecent acts with a minor, the employee in question violated his probation by having emergency lights illegally installed on his vehicle and wearing fake badges to impersonate law enforcement.
Stunningly, the employee was paid $55,000 to resign in January 2015 as the result of a settlement.
The same article described an employee who regularly watched pornography at work on an EPA computer, and other employees who were caught “possessing marijuana, illegally deleting federal records, violating transparency laws and stealing federal funds” without being terminated.
Finally, the Caucus raised the matter of the Flint, Mich. water crisis.
This health disaster became the subject of national attention, but McCarthy’s EPA failed to declare a state of emergency until January 2016, despite being notified of the problem in April 2015.
The lead-contaminated water was responsible for at least twelve deaths due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
These, and numerous other controversies, have many Republicans questioning what appears to be a double standard.
“The allegations against Administrator Pruitt leave a lot of questions unanswered, and it should not cost him his job – especially when far more serious allegations against former administrators were largely brushed aside,” read a statement from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif), a member of the caucus.
For the full list containing all ten Obama-era EPA scandals, and the statements of continued support for Scott Pruitt, see the release from the Congressional Western Caucus here.