Most recently, Pruitt has come under fire for tasking his staff and security detail with running his errands and searching for employment opportunities for his wife. That has led to allegations that Pruitt violated federal rules that prohibit officials from compelling subordinates to do personal favors for them or using their office to enrich themselves.
In a report linked to the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, the senators tacked on the following amendment:
The Committee feels strongly that it is essential that agencies provided funding in this Act comply with all applicable ethics regulations. To that end, the Committee directs that none of the funds made available in this Act may be used in contravention of 5 CFR § 2635, the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.
The language may seem vague, but Sen. Tom Udall, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, did not mince words in explaining the subcommittee's intent. He said the amendment "addresses the ethics scandals plaguing this administration."
"I am appalled at the number of scandals piling up — especially at the EPA," he said. "Frankly, it's hard to even keep track."
Pruitt and EPA face about a dozen outstanding investigations into spending, policy and management issues. Several investigators are probing the incident that unleashed a torrent of subsequent media reports: Pruitt's arrangement to lease a Capitol Hill condo linked to an energy lobbyist for just $50 a night, and only on nights he stayed there.