Thu | Nov 15, 2018

EPA's Pruitt sought used Trump hotel mattress

Published:Tuesday | June 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Scott Pruitt

WASHINGTON (AP):

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt had a top aide seek a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel and perform other personal chores for him, including house-hunting and booking personal travel, according to testimony released yesterday.

Millan Hupp's transcribed interview last month before a panel of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staffers marks the first public accounting from one of Pruitt's closest aides on personal errands that she said the EPA chief had her do. The transcript was released yesterday.

Asked about her email to managers of the Trump hotel at Pruitt's request, Hupp said Pruitt was trying to get a used mattress.

"The administrator had spoken with someone at the Trump Hotel who had indicated there could be a mattress he could purchase, an old mattress he could purchase," said Hupp, the EPA administrator's director of scheduling, who came to Washington with Pruitt.

She said she did not know what Pruitt planned to do with any mattress, but added, "It was around the same time that he was moving."

President Donald Trump has stood behind his embattled EPA chief, but this is the first time an ethical question surrounding Pruitt has touched on part of the president's business empire.

Asked yesterday about the mattress, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they are looking into it. "I couldn't comment on the specifics of the furniture used in his apartment," she said.

Democratic representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Gerald Connolly of Virginia called the errands a violation of federal law on gifts from subordinates and asked the majority to subpoena agency records they said were being withheld. They are the top Democrats on the House oversight committee and a subcommittee on government operations, respectively.

"If Ms Hupp's statements to the committee are accurate, Administrator Pruitt crossed a very clear line and must be held accountable," they wrote to committee Chairman Rep Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican.