Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said he wasn’t aware that two of his close aides received massive pay raises after the White House refused to allow it.
“My staff and I found out about it yesterday and I changed it,” Pruitt told Fox News in an interview published Wednesday, adding that he didn’t know who was responsible for the controversial pay raises.
“You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?” Fox’s Ed Henry asked Pruitt.
“I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it,” Pruitt responded.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 4, 2018
The Hill added:
The pay raise controversy is just one in a series of scandals Pruitt has been involved in in recent days.
The Atlantic reported Tuesday that Pruitt asked the White House to give his senior counsel Sarah Greenwalt a raise to $164,200 from $107,435, and his scheduling director Millan Hupp a raise to $114,590 from $86,460, but the White House rejected the request. Since they are political appointees, the White House must approve such raises.
But the EPA then decided to use an obscure authority it has under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which exempts certain employees from civil service rules, to give Greenwalt and Hupp the raises.
Henry asked Pruitt if Greenwalt and Hupp were friends of his.
“Well, they serve a very important purpose,” he responded.
“And you did not know that they got these large pay raises?” Henry asked.
“I did not know that they got pay raises until yesterday.”
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Hupp also helped Pruitt search for apartments during off hours.