WASHINGTON – Scott Pruitt, who resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency in July amid numerous ethics scandals, is in talks to work as a consultant for a Kentucky coal-mining company, according to a story in The New York Times.
Pruitt was a champion for weakening clean air and water regulations that affect coal mining and other fossil fuel industries while he led the EPA.
He is in discussions with Kentucky coal mining tycoon Joseph W. Craft III, CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, about becoming a consultant, according to the Times. The newspaper reported that Pruitt, when he was still EPA administrator, met with Craft numerous times. Craft provided Pruitt with courtside seats at a University of Kentucky basketball game in December, the story says.
President Donald Trump required Pruitt and other top administration officials to sign a pledge not to lobby the federal government for five years after leaving. But the agreement does not bar Pruitt from giving advice to companies about the EPA or about state environmental agencies. He was Oklahoma's attorney general before joining the Trump administration.
While he was head of the EPA, Pruitt was accused of spending extravagantly on travel and security, asking aides to run personal errands and getting a special deal on a condo rental owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist.
The Government Accountability Office, which acts as the watchdog agency for Congress, concluded this year that the installation of a $43,000 soundproof telephone booth in Pruitt's office violated congressional appropriations law.
Pruitt accumulated up to $300,000 in personal legal debts in 2017, according to a financial disclosure report that the EPA released Wednesday. The report did not specify why Pruitt was seeking legal help. In addition to his ethics problems at the EPA, Pruitt has been under investigation by the Oklahoma Bar Association for a possible ethics violation in the state.