Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt racked up as much as $300,000 in personal legal debts in 2017, according to a financial disclosure released by the agency Wednesday.
The disclosure indicates Pruitt owed between $100,001 and $250,000 to Crowe & Dunlevy, an Oklahoma City-based firm, at the end of last year. He also owed between $15,001 and $50,000 to Oklahoma law firm Riggs Abney Neal Turpen.
Pruitt’s disclosure covered only calendar year 2017, before many of the ethics scandals that drove him out of office came to light in spring 2018.
The disclosure does not specify what specific issues those law firms worked on for Pruitt. He faced several investigations related to his EPA work, and the Oklahoma Bar Association was investigating him on an ethics complaint as well, a inquiry that was dismissed in July, a few weeks after Pruitt resigned from EPA.
Pruitt has also retained Cleta Mitchell, a D.C.-based attorney at Foley & Lardner, as well as Paul Rauser, co-founder of the firm Aegis Law Group, neither of whom is listed on Pruitt’s 2017 disclosure. Pruitt also launched a legal defense fund, contributions to which will have to be disclosed on his 2018 financial disclosure if they were made when he was still EPA administrator.
Pruitt reported selling between $48,000 and $370,000 in various investments last year. He also reported purchasing between $50,000 and $100,000 of a mutual fund called “Lord Abbett Short Duration Income.”
Pruitt did not list any gifts as part of last year’s disclosure, but he acknowledged allegations Democrats raised in a June letter that he received perks like sports tickets, meals and airfare that should be reported as gifts. He said he “dispute[s] the facts asserted” that they constitute gifts but said he would amend his disclosure if needed, and said he did not take possession of “various items” that could constitute permissible gifts.
In addition, Pruitt’s wife Marlyn reported between $15,000 and $50,000 in business income via an LLC that she owns and operates alone. She worked as a temporary independent contractor for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network from fall 2017 to spring 2018, and Pruitt faced scrutiny over his alleged use of EPA aides to help find his wife employment, though the disclosure does not detail where the income came from.
Pruitt must file a report covering his 2018 finances up until his July 6 resignation by Nov. 5, which would be released to the public within 30 days.
The New York Times and the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Pruitt was in discussions to work for Kentucky coal mining magnate Joseph W. Craft III as a consultant. Pruitt met several times with Craft, the CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, during his tenure as head of the EPA, and he used Craft’s courtside seats at a University of Kentucky basketball game last year.
In a statement, Alliance said “[a]ny discussions that occurred between Mr. Craft and Mr. Pruitt are preliminary, and do not involve him becoming an employee of Alliance Resource Partners. Obviously, any discussions would not involve lobbying the federal government.”
Under ethics guidelines instituted by President Donald Trump, Pruitt is barred from lobbying the EPA for five years.