On Friday, KOKH's Phil Cross reported that new EPA chief Scott Pruitt used his personal email address to conduct state business as Oklahoma Attorney General. That's apparently not illegal or wrong, but it would directly contradict a statement he gave to US congress.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office confirms former Attorney General Scott Pruitt used a private email for state business. The information comes a week after FOX 25 first revealed the emails that appeared to be sent from Pruitt’s private email account.
FOX 25 requested answers about Pruitt’s private email use and whether that account was searched for records in accordance with state law. It took one week for the office to return our multiple calls and emails and confirm it did search the account.
A spokesman for the agency, Lincoln Ferguson, said that attorneys within the office conducted the search of Pruitt’s private, personal email account and did not find any documents that had not been captured in the search of official Oklahoma attorney general accounts.
To be clear, I don't have a problem with Scott Pruitt using a private email address to conduct state business. He's a busy man, and as we all know, technology has still not advanced to the point where you can securely access email accounts remotely via an internet browser or handheld mobile advice. It's desktop Outlook or nothing! I seriously doubt he was trying to hide information or avoid the law. Pruitt is an honorable, ethical man who would never try to hide anything from the Oklahoma people, especially if you're rich, powerful and work for an oil company.
That being said, lying to congress about the issue was probably a stupid mistake:
The revelation is in direct conflict with Pruitt’s written and oral testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee during the confirmation process. Pruitt, who is now the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told lawmakers he had never used private email for state business.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., asked Pruitt directly, “Have you ever conducted business using your personal email accounts, nonofficial Oklahoma attorney general email accounts, text messages, instant messenger, voicemails, or any other medium?”
“I use only my official OAG [Office of the Attorney General] email address and government-issued phone to conduct official business,” Pruitt replied.
Yes, I know lying to congress is a standard part of any confirmation hearing, but it's usually not that blatant. To make up for it, Pruitt should have his buds at Devon make a contribution to Booker's campaign. He should also have the company ghostwrite on his behalf an apology to Booker. Hopefully he sends it from his new EPA email address.