Is Pruitt Vulnerable?

Source: By ANTHONY ADRAGNA, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

IS PRUITT VULNERABLE? Progressive groups are seizing on a new pro-Scott Pruitt group (see below) as evidence that Republicans are worried Pruitt’s EPA nomination is more vulnerable than had been thought. In a talking points memocirculated over the weekend and obtained by ME, environmentalists and others are encouraged to “drive a narrative that the nomination is in trouble and the polluters are coming to the rescue with millions in undisclosed dirty money to fund a secret campaign to force Pruitt.” That includes noting Pruitt’s previously reported “secretive alliance” with oil and gas companies to fight EPA regulations. Fossil fuel companies “stand to reap massive profits with their handpicked nominee leading the agency that oversees their activity,” according to the talking points.

Speaking of that group: Warning that Pruitt’s confirmation “is not a certainty” and saying that millions of dollars are needed for advertising and social media campaigns to counter anti-Pruitt efforts from “anti-business, environmental extremists,” a new non-profit group that won’t have to disclose its donors has formed to boost the Oklahoma attorney general. As Pro’s Alex Guillén and Esther Whieldon report, Protecting America Now is coordinating fundraising through Kate Doner, an Austin-based fundraiser who has done PAC and consulting work for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz. Alex also reports that two political action committees backing Pruitt have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from energy companies.

His forms roll in: We’re still waiting for a hearing date for Pruitt but the Office of Government Ethics released his financial disclosure and ethics agreement over the weekend. Compared to the roster of billionaires joining Trump’s Cabinet, Pruitt’s bank accounts are relatively small. Aside from the $265,650 he makes annually as Oklahoma’s attorney general (his pay as EPA administrator likely will be $179,700, a significant pay cut), Pruitt listed between $320,000 and $800,000 in investment assets and bank accounts. His only listed liability was a mortgage worth between half a million and a million dollars. The ethics agreement indicates that Pruitt resigned his position at the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a non-profit group of GOP AGs that discusses policy issues, on Dec. 8, the day after his nomination became public. He had served as chairman of the group until November, then sat on its board of directors until December. Pruitt says he would also resign from the boards of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Windows Ministry, an Oklahoma City non-profit.