Common Cause is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to delay the vote on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), until a court rules on lawsuit to force him to comply with open records laws and produce communications directly related to his fitness to head up the agency. The lawsuit seeks access to thousands of e-mails between Pruitt, as Attorney General of Oklahoma, and the fossil fuel industry that has helped bankroll his political campaigns and stood to gain significantly from more than a dozen lawsuits Pruitt brought against the EPA.
“The Senate should be making an informed decision on the nomination of Scott Pruitt, not jamming through a confirmation vote before the all the facts are available to Senators and their constituents,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President. “The American people deserve to know the nature of Scott Pruitt’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry he would be regulating as head of the EPA. If there is nothing to hide from the public then he should not be withholding documents that the public is entitled by law to view.”
Despite very clear open records laws in Oklahoma, Pruitt has withheld the release of thousands of e-mails by ignoring Open Records Act requests to his office dating back to 2015. Those emails contain Pruitt's communications with representatives from the fossil fuel industry.
The e-mails between Pruitt and representatives of the fossil fuels industry are expected to be released soon under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act. A state court in Oklahoma will hold a hearing in the matter today. The letter from Common Cause urges Senate Majority Leader McConnell to delay voting on Pruitt’s nomination to serve as EPA Administrator until these e-mails have been released and the Senate has time to thoroughly review the new information relating directly to his fitness to hold the office to which he has been nominated.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.