President Donald Trump offered a blend of praise and frustration for his challenging EPA administrator Friday New questions about whether Scott Pruitt abused his office.
"I'm watching Scott and Scott have done a great job at EPA, but … I'm not happy about some things, I'm honest," Trump told reporters impromptu comments on the White House lawn Friday morning. "I'm not happy about some things, but he has done an amazing job that drives EPA, which is very comprehensive."
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Trump did not specify what Pruitt made him unhappy n is facing at least a dozen studies of his travel expenses, darling of apartment agreements and claims that he used EPA aids to do personal business for him.
The last charge came earlier Friday in a letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Member of the House Oversight Committee: Pruitt asked an assistant to contact an energy consultant in Oklahoma to help him get tickets for last year's sold out Rose Bowl game.
Renzi Stone, founder of marketing and communications company Saxum, representing customers in the oil and gas industry, helped Pruitt to become a member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. He said Friday that he and Pruitt were friends for 17 years, and that he did not lobby the EPA. Millan Hupp, Pruitt's former EPA scheduler, told the supervisory board staff that Pruitt had sought Stones assistance, according to a partial interview print out in his letter.
Cummings asked Stone for copies of communication with Pruitt in connection with his purchase of the Rose Bowl tickets. Pruitt could buy the seats under a special award from the University of Oklahoma at nominal value only five days before the sold out game. About that time, tickets went on the resale market to as much as seven times what Pruitt paid, the New York Times reported Friday.
"Federal Code of Ethics prohibits government employees from accepting gifts, such as tickets for sports events, unless they pay" market value, "wrote Cummings." In addition, a government member can not accept a gift given "due to the official's official position" .
Stone acknowledged that Pruitt helped.
"Every year, I call OU Bowl tickets. Scott Pruitt, my friend since 2001, asked an assistant if he could buy Rose Bowl tix. I made a connection to the OU ticket office," Stone wrote on Twitter . "He bought them. I am. I answer Rep Cummings … we do no work for customers at EPA."
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox defended the event.
"It seems representative Cummings suspects facts," Wilcox said in a statement. "Renzi Stone, a friend of Administrator Pruitt and Regent of the University of Oklahoma, simply linked Pruitt to the sports department. Pruitt bought the tickets at nominal value from the OU sports department. Reporting otherwise is false. "
The Times also reported Friday that Pruitt had several assistants helping to secure his daughter a white house internship last summer and leaned to the former speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William Howell, for a letter of recommendation for his daughter to the statute of the Federal Empire.
The Special Council Office has launched a new investigation on how Pruitt handled his assistants and if he used his office for political reasons, according to the Times. The Independent Investigation Bureau did not respond to the request for comment.  This article was tagged in: