A coterie of U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's aides and political consultants from his time in Oklahoma have joined the agency.
Sources tell E&E News that Pruitt has brought on several staffers at EPA who either worked under him when he was Oklahoma attorney general or were part of his campaign team in the Sooner State.
Sarah Greenwalt, who was general counsel for the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General during Pruitt's tenure, has joined EPA as senior counsel. In addition, Lincoln Ferguson, who was press secretary for the Oklahoma attorney general's office, has joined EPA's public affairs office.
Both Greenwalt and Ferguson played a part in the recent controversy over Pruitt's emails as Oklahoma attorney general.
Last month, Pruitt was sued to release those emails under open records litigation from the liberal-leaning Center for Media and Democracy — some of which he has now released, providing more details on his state office's close relationship with the oil and gas industry. Greenwalt responded to the group's queries for those emails while Ferguson has given statements to the press about the litigation, calling CMD's complaint "political theatre" at one point (Greenwire, Feb. 7).
Also, some of Pruitt's political staff have come to EPA.
Millan Hupp, a political consultant who was part of Pruitt's campaign team in Oklahoma, has joined the agency to handle advance work. Her sister, Sydney Hupp, another former Pruitt campaign aide, has joined EPA as well to work as a scheduler.
Both Hupps worked on Pruitt's state campaign for Oklahoma attorney general, according to Oklahoma Ethics Commission records.
Further, during this last election cycle, Federal Election Commission records show that the Hupp sisters also worked for both of Pruitt's federal political groups, the Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC and Liberty 2.0, the EPA chief's super political action committee.
Pruitt faced ethics questions on whether or not he planned to keep those political groups active while he ran EPA. Both groups filed termination letters with the FEC on the eve of his confirmation hearing in January (Climatewire, Jan. 19).
All four individuals started at EPA last week.
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