Scott Pruitt is even worse at yes-or-no questions than he is at following ethics rules

Scott Pruitt, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency. UU., You just can not answer yes or no questions. That is a conclusion of one of today's Congress hearings, where Pruitt was questioned by lawmakers in his long list of ethical scandals. At one point, Pruitt even refused to answer the very simple question: "Are you the administrator of the EPA?" (Finally he answered with a "yes" the third time he was asked)

The hearings, one in the Energy Chamber and the Trade Committee and the other in the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, were technically organized to discuss the proposed budget for 2019 of the EPA. But many questions, especially those made by Democratic lawmakers, revolved around the various scandals that affected Pruitt's performance. Those include disbursing $ 3 million in security since they took office, including during a personal trip to Disneyland; travel in first class with taxpayers' money; and paying $ 43,000 for a soundproof booth for his office. (The Government Accountability Office determined that the installation of the expensive booth violated the law.)

Many times, Republican legislators at the hearings tried to defend Pruitt and divert the conversation from the failures ethical return to the budget and politics. Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) called the accusations a "bloody political", while Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said Pruitt was a "victim of Washington's policy." But Democratic lawmakers followed suit, requesting that the EPA the boss take responsibility for his lavish expenses and the other scandals that have plagued the agency. For the most part, especially during the first hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pruitt did not answer the questions directly.

Here are some examples of the times Pruitt dodged yes or no questions that should have been very easy to do. Answer:

  • Earlier this month, it was revealed that Pruitt lied about approving major paychecks for two aides who had worked with him before taking office, even though the White House opposed the request . Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) asked Pruitt if he authorized EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson to sign documents on behalf of Pruitt, authorizing salary increases.

Tonko: "Did you, administrator, authorize Mr. Jackson to sign those documents for you?

Pruitt:" Congressman, those were delegates to Mr. Jackson. "

Tonko:" Did you authorize it then? , to sign them? "

Pruitt:" That decision was made by my staff … "

Tonko:" Yes or no? Did you authorize it? "

Pruitt:" There was a delegation given in my authority. "

Tonko:" So that's a yes? "

  • Earlier this month, The New York Times revealed that at least five EPA officials who spoke against Pruitt's wasteful spending or administration suffered consequences. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) asked Pruitt about that.

Pallone: ​​"It was reported that at least five employees of the EPA were recently reassigned, demoted or otherwise retaliated against them after they became worried for its expense. Is it correct, yes or no? "

Pruitt:" I never remember a conversation for that purpose. "

Pallone:" I'll take that as a yes. "

Pruitt:" You should not take it as a yes. "

  • In December of 2017, Pruitt appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to defend the installation of a $ 43,000 soundproof booth in his office, despite the fact that the EPA office already has designated areas where private and confidential telephone calls can be made.In today's hearing, Representative Diana DeGette (D -CO) questioned Pruitt about illegal spending.

DeGette: "He expressed his opinion that [the phone booth] was appropriate, correct? Yes or no? "

Pruitt:" I did not express that $ 43,000 was appropriate. "

DeGette:" You will not answer my question. Did you know at that time that this expense violated Section 7-10 of the Financial Services and the General Government Appropriations Act and the Anti-Dumping Act? "

Pruitt:" It's really … "

DeGette:" So, you. I'm not going to answer that question either. Do you know if any of your employees knew that this expense violated these two laws? Yes or no? "

Pruitt:" The [Office of General Counsel] has again indicated that … his opinion is that it is not a violation. "

DeGette:" Then you will not answer that question. "

  • Towards the end From the audience, Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) asked Pruitt to take responsibility for the various mishaps that have damaged the EPA.

Luján: "Today, you repeatedly blamed your chief of staff, your boss lawyer, career officials and others. Yes or no, are you the administrator of the EPA? "

Pruitt:" I said in my opening statement, congressman. And I did not blame anyone "

Luján:" Mr. administrator, it's just a simple yes or no question, sir. Are you the administrator of the EPA? "

Pruitt:" I said in my opening statement, that I take responsibility, I have made changes historically, I am making changes in the future. And I just have not stopped taking responsibility, I've just recited the fact of what is happening. "

Luján:" It's a simple question, Mr. Pruitt. Are you the administrator of the EPA? "

Pruitt:" Yes "

Luján:" Do you run the EPA? "

Pruitt:" Yes. "

Luján:" Yes or no: Son Are you responsible for the many scandals that plague EPA? "

Pruitt:" I have answered many of those questions today, with facts and information. "

Luján:" Are you capable of answering yes or no? ? "

Pruitt:" That's not a yes or no answer, congressman. "

Luján:" It's simple enough that it's a yes or no answer. "

  • Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) ) also asked Pruitt about his overspending, especially about his first class plane tickets and the $ 43,000 phone booth.

Eshoo: "Do you have any regrets about this? You can answer, yes or no. "

Pruitt:" I echo your comments … I think what you said about the importance of public trust … "

Eshoo:" No, I want you to answer me I have two minutes. Yes or no? Do you have any remorse? "

Pruitt:" I think there are already changes that I made … "

Eshoo:" Sir, it's not going to bother me. "

Eshoo concluded his comment:" This is not the day of "dodge Question". We ask these questions on behalf of our constituents. "Except, somehow it was.