Rachel Maddow: "How Can The Republicans Possibly Defend" Voting To Confirm Scott Pruitt Before His Emails With Oil Companies Are Released?
Maddow: Following OK Court Ruling On Emails, Senate Democrats Are "Holding The Floor All Night Long" To Protest Pruitt's Nomination To Head EPA
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From the February 16 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:
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RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): Scott Pruitt got famous for something else. He in fact made the front page of The New York Times; it was an investigative piece by Eric Lipton at The New York Times that eventually won Lipton the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2014. Eric Lipton discovered that what Scott Pruitt was doing on environmental issues in Oklahoma, he was taking letters and documents written by oil and gas companies that were big campaign contributors to him, and he was literally copying and pasting the full text of the documents that they wrote, the letters that they wrote. He was copying and pasting those things from oil and gas companies onto his own letterhead, intact, as if they were his own work. And then he was sending those things to Washington, as if they were the views of the state of Oklahoma. And mostly those letters were, like, berating the EPA about something or another.
Well now Scott Pruitt is who the Trump administration has chosen to run the EPA for the country, and the vote on his nomination is supposed to be tomorrow. But despite all of that stuff which is known about Scott Pruitt and a lot else besides, his vote is scheduled tomorrow, and it looks like the wrench in the works on Scott Pruitt, if there is going to be one, is a wrench in the works that a judge in Oklahoma threw tonight.
Tonight, a judge in Oklahoma threw a wrench in the works for the Scott Pruitt nomination, because there’s actually something else that Scott Pruitt was starting to get famous for in Oklahoma. For the last two years, he has been refusing to answer public records requests sent to his office in Oklahoma. He’s the attorney general of the state, he’s subject to the same transparency rules and Freedom of Information [Act] rules as every other part of the state government, but for the past two years Scott Pruitt has inexplicably just been rejecting public records requests for documents and correspondence between his office and oil and gas companies. There’s no legal basis for him resisting or rejecting these records requests; he’s just been saying “no.” And tonight, a federal judge in Oklahoma proclaimed, quote, “there really is no reasonable explanation” why his office hasn’t complied with public records requests.
She described his actions as a, quote, “abject failure to follow the law.” And this judge in Oklahoma tonight ordered him -- he’s finally got to do it. He’s got to hand over what’s expected to be about 3,000 pages of emails and other types of communication and correspondence between his office and the oil and gas companies that have been taking such good care of him all these years in Oklahoma. Wow. Alright.
So we’re finally, finally going to see that stuff from Scott Pruitt’s office from his time as attorney general, which is his current job. The judge says he has to produce all this stuff, make it publicly available by Tuesday. Oh but wait -- his vote to be the head of the EPA is tomorrow. Hm. Democrats were not psyched about the Scott Pruitt EPA nomination anyway, at least most Democrats, but now it would seem that both Democrats and Republicans might have a good reason to just wait a few more days before they vote on him because sometime between now and Tuesday we’re going to get 3,000 pages of his communications with oil and gas companies. 3,000 pages of communications with oil and gas companies that he has been illegally withholding from public view for the last two years. That kind of seems like stuff you might want to see before you vote on this guy to be in charge of great swaths of public policy that affect oil and gas companies, right? I mean, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, you’d at least want to see this stuff before you vote, wouldn’t you? Especially if you only have to wait a few days?
MADDOW: Tonight, Senate Democrats are planning on holding the floor all night long in opposition to the vote tomorrow on Scott Pruitt to head up the EPA. Not just because of all of their previous objections to him and everything else in his record, but now the fact that within a matter of 5 days 3,000 pages of documentation that his office was illegally withholding about communications between him and oil and gas companeis, those are about to be released. How can the Republicans possibly defend voting on him tomorrow when sometime in the next 5 days we're getting a 3,000 page document dump on him on exactly the subject he's now being elevated to the federal government to oversee?