A law professor and an environmental group just filed a formal complaint against the president’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt. The group alleges that Pruitt was not entirely “truthful” during his senate confirmation hearing. According to the complaint, the EPA head lied to Congress about how he misused his personal email during his term as Oklahoma Attorney General.
Pruitt Could Lose His Law License
If allegations that he used the personal email for work emails are found to be true, he could have his law license suspended or could face disbarment. Pruitt is already seen as a controversial figure because of his climate change skepticism and his close ties to the oil and gas companies in his state.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Law Professor Kristen van de Biezenbos filed the complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association, requesting an investigation into the former AG’s claims before Congress.
The complaint alleges that the EPA boss used a personal email address at “me.com” for official business during his tenure as state AG and lied about it during his confirmation hearing. Pruitt denied using the email address for work emails, but records from a recent lawsuit show that he received at least one work email on that email address. Oklahoma courts are still reviewing the records so there may be more.
Okcfox was the first that reported the EPA administrator could have been using his private email address to run state business. However, in Oklahoma, it is not illegal the use of a private email for official business as long as those emails “are included in searches for public documents.”
The problem is the former AG lied about it before Congress. According to his written and oral testimony during the confirmation hearing, Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee that he had never ran state business from his personal email account.
Van de Biezenbos declined to reply to a request for comment. She said all questions should be referred to the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Office of General Counsel. According to the association’s mission statement, members who are guilty of “serious misconduct” could face suspension or disbarment.
Pruitt Allegedly Breached the Ethical Standards of His Profession
When the law professor was asked why she decided to file the complaint against the former AG, she replied Pruitt should too respect the law like any practicing Oklahoma attorney. She said that his dishonesty before a congressional panel represents a serious breach of his ethical obligations as a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Further, honesty is something that we all, as Americans, expect and deserve from our elected and appointed government officials,
van de Biezenbos added.
The CBD and van de Biezenbos want the Office of General Counsel to start an investigation into Pruitt’s misconduct. And if he is found guilty of an ethical violation, he should face discipline like any other of his fellow attorneys.
The professor couldn’t tell why Pruitt used a dot-me email address and lied about it. She noted it is not illegal to use the private email address for state business under Oklahoma laws. She underlined that the investigation should first seek a determination of whether he lied to the Senate panel about the issue.
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