Top Pruitt aide resigns amid growing EPA scandal
A longtime ally of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned amid mounting ethical questions surrounding the agency’s chief, said a person familiar with the decision.
Samantha Dravis left her role as an associate administrator of the EPA Office of Policy as Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general, faces scrutiny for his unorthodox rental of a bedroom from a lobbyist last year, and for having boosted the salaries of two aides over the objections of the White House. The person describing Dravis’ resignation asked for anonymity to discuss a private personnel matter.
Dravis came to the EPA after serving with Pruitt as general counsel of the Republican Attorneys General Association. At the EPA, she helped revive a program for seeking regulatory advice from miners, oil companies, and manufacturers.
Although the move coincides with the swirl of ethical questions surrounding Pruitt, Dravis’ departure is unrelated, said two people who know her and asked not to be identified. She had been seeking a new position for several months, one of the people said.
The EPA administrator is under fire for renting a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condominium from a lobbyist under unusually agreeable terms that permitted him to pay $50 a night, only on the nights he stayed there. And Pruitt has drawn fresh scrutiny for reports that he used an obscure law to grant large raises to two close advisers, even after the White House objected to boosting their salaries.
Pruitt told Fox News on Wednesday that he didn’t know about the raises until Tuesday. “I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it,” he said.
EPA representatives didn’t respond to an emailed request seeking comment.