Report: Pruitt escaped multiple EPA IG investigations by resigning

Scott Pruitt’s resignation as Environmental Protection Agency administrator thwarted multiple investigations into his conduct in office, according to an inspector general report obtained by CNN.

The investigations included: the “Administrator renting a room in a townhouse owned by a lobbyist’s wife”; that Pruitt “had subordinates at the EPA assist him in finding personal housing; that he used his official position and EPA staff to seek a ‘business opportunity’ for his wife with Chick-fil-A, a fast-food restaurant chain; that he enlisted subordinates at the EPA to secure a mattress for his personal use; and that he had his security detail run errands for him.”

In each of those cases, “Mr. Pruitt resigned prior to being interviewed by investigators. For that reason, the (EPA Office of the Inspector General) deemed that the result of the investigation was inconclusive. The case will be closed.”

In an additional case, investigators found “nothing of investigative merit supporting the allegation” that EPA ethics officials had been pressured into approving Pruitt’s lease.

“Investigators interviewed potential victims, who stated that they did not feel pressured into rendering opinions pertaining to the lodging agreement,” the report said.

A spokesman for the inspector general’s office declined to comment prior to the document’s public release on Friday. The Washington Post first revealed the findings of the report late Thursday.

Pruitt resigned from the agency in early July under a cloud of ethics scandals. The office of Inspector General Arthur Elkins indicated soon afterward that several of the probes involving Pruitt would continue. Several involved potential misuse of agency funds or agency staff.

Elkins has since retired. The report is signed by his successor, acting Inspector General Charles Sheehan.

In a message to Congress within the report, Sheehan notes that the agency had additional work involving allegations against Pruitt that “was not initiated … due to Administrator Pruitt’s resignation.”

It did note that two audits involving Pruitt had been completed: one involving large raises given to his aides, and another involving his security detail.