WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement on a report that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s December trip to Morocco was arranged by a longtime friend and lobbyist, who has since won a $40,000-a-month contract to help the Moroccan government promote its cultural and economic interests. It was also revealed today that the trip cost roughly $100,000, well above what was previously known.
“We have been pushing for answers on Administrator Pruitt’s jaunt to Morocco for months. We thought boosting an industry he is not even charged with regulating – a mission well outside the scope of his job – was troubling enough. Now, after our repeated questions have gone ignored, we learn this trip was also the work of a lobbyist and personal friend of Pruitt’s now representing the Moroccan government, and that the price tag for American taxpayers is double what has been reported.
“Enough is enough. Administrator Pruitt needs to explain this trip, as well as the flood of scandal he has brought to the EPA. We urge our Republican colleagues to bring Administrator Pruitt back before us and have him answer for this overpriced and ethically questionable overseas travel – actions that betray the public trust and utterly fail to carry forward the actual mission of the EPA.”
The stated purpose of the trip to Morocco was to promote U.S. liquefied natural gas exports—an issue that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the EPA. In a December letter, Senator Carper asked EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins to expand his current audit of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel to include Pruitt’s Morocco trip. In an April letter, Senator Whitehouse questioned Pruitt about meetings with natural gas interests prior to the Morocco trip, as well as his sparse official schedule that included two full days with only one hour-long official event.