Partner Cleta Mitchell was quoted in an article for E&E News, “Pruitt didn’t consult ethics officials on defense fund – IG,” about Acting EPA Inspector General Charles Sheehan’s claim in a letter to a congressman that former Administrator Scott Pruitt never sought advice about the existence or establishment of his legal defense fund from the agency’s ethics office.
Mitchell, the trustee of the fund, said she had contacted the Office of Government Ethics to discuss the creation and operation of the fund. Officials there referred her to the EPA’s ethics office, which she emailed to schedule a phone call to discuss the fund. Within an hour, she said, she received a phone call from a New York Times reporter asking about the fund.
“Needless to say, I did not respond to either the [New York Times] reporter, nor did I engage further with the EPA ethics office on any questions related to the fund,” she said, adding, “There was no way I could pursue further guidance from an office that was clearly willing to violate basic ethical standards – where any question I might ask that office would likely be leaked directly to a reporter.”