The Government Accountability Office is investigating EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for his appearance in a promotional video and whether it violated the law prohibiting lobbying and propaganda using agency resources.
Pruitt appeared in a video produced by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in which he described his opposition to the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule.
“We’re trying to fix the challenges from the 2015 rule, where the Obama administration reimagined their authority under the Clean Water Act and defined a Water of the United States as being a puddle, a dry creek bed, and ephemeral drainage ditches across this country,” Pruitt said in the video.
“We want farmers and ranchers across this country to provide comments.”
In June, EPA proposed a repeal of the rule, which aimed to clarify which waters in the U.S. fall under federal jurisdiction.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., asked the GAO — the congressional investigative arm — last month to investigate Pruitt’s appearance in the video.
“We are deeply troubled that these recent EPA actions are the latest examples of EPA’s inappropriate use of taxpayer resources,” wrote DeFazio, the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, with three other Democrats.
The GAO in 2014 determined the EPA under the Obama administration broke the law with "covert propaganda" in support of the same clean water regulation.