Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who is embroiled in multiple investigations into his ethics and spending, allegedly sent only one email to anyone outside the EPA in his first 10 months in office, the department told the Sierra Club in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. That set off alarm bells for oversight groups, which say they are hard-pressed to believe that an administrator as active and involved with industry leaders as Pruitt has merely sent one email in all that time, Politico reports.
"Americans should know what the EPA is doing, why it's doing it, and who's influencing those decisions," said Melanie Sloan of American Oversight. Watchdog groups are now probing if Pruitt ever used a private email account for EPA business — while it would not be illegal for him to do so as a government official, the account would be required to be searched for a response to something like the Sierra Club's FOIA request.
It is understood that Pruitt often uses other methods than email to communicate, including phone calls and the like. He used text messages in at least one instance to set up a meeting, and nine texts were included in the EPA's response to the Sierra Club. It can be difficult for watchdogs to get their hands on such alternative forms of communication than email.
There is also some question of if the EPA is concealing more emails. Pruitt possesses multiple email accounts, and the Sierra Club excluded from its request two that the EPA said are solely for public comments and scheduling. Read more about Pruitt's missing emails at Politico.