Pruitt Went Behind Trump’s Back to Give Aides Big Raises

Mitchell Resnick/Planet Pix via ZUMA

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is quite the operator. He hired a couple of his close aides from Oklahoma, and then asked the White House for permission to give them big pay raises. He was turned down. So he gave them big raises anyway:

A provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act allows the EPA administrator to hire up to 30 people into the agency, without White House or congressional approval….After the White House rejected their request, Pruitt’s team studied the particulars of the Safe Drinking Water provision, according to the source with direct knowledge of these events. By reappointing Greenwalt and Hupp under this authority, they learned, Pruitt could exercise total control over their contracts and grant the raises on his own.

Pruitt ordered it done. Though Hupp and Greenwalt’s duties did not change, the agency began processing them for raises of $28,130 and $56,765, respectively, compared with their 2017 salaries. Less than two weeks after Pruitt had approached the White House, according to time-stamped Human Resources documents shared with The Atlantic, the paperwork was finished.

Pruitt may be one of Donald Trump’s favorites, but Trump does not like people going behind his back to do the kind of stuff that Trump himself does. Plus, this whole business with the $50/day apartment he scored from a lobbyist friend is looking worse and worse. Trump obviously doesn’t care that Pruitt is hellbent on wrecking the environment—it pisses off the liberals, so that’s fine—but one of these days Pruitt’s shenanigans are going end up on the cover of Time, and Trump will finally decide that he’s tired of being upstaged. That’s how you get fired in Trumpland.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate