"In accordance with my obligations under the Government Ethics Office, I have referred a number of these matters to the EPO Inspector General and have given the Inspector General and his Office" immediate and active assistance, "the letter said Wednesday sent by Mr. Minoli, who received a copy from the New York Times through a request for information. "To the best of my knowledge, all matters that I have mentioned will be considered for acceptance or active investigation."
The letter does not mention the specific matters or the total number of references made to Mr Pruitt
The impetus to investigate Mr Pruitt came when the EPO's Ethics Office, which was part of the General Counsel's office The agency is suffering a serious shortage of staff due to a hiring hiring the agency last year, Mr. Minolis's letter says. At one point last summer, after retirements and other temporary departures, the office had only one full-time employee.
Mr. Minoli sent the five-page memo to David J. Apol, incumbent director of the Office of Government Ethics, which monitors ethics programs in all federal agencies. Mr Minoli's letter came in part in response to two letters which Mr Apol sent to E.P.A. (19659002) "Public trust requires that all employees act in the public interest and be free of any actual or perceived conflict when they perform the government responsibilities entrusted to them," Mr. Apol wrote to Mr. Minoli in April. "Above all, the heads of the agencies have an increased responsibility," he added, before elaborating on some of the same ethical allegations that Mr Minoli had allegedly demanded from the Inspector General of the Agency.
As head of the EPA Ethics Program and the main representative of the General Counsel at the Agency, Mr. Minoli has no authority to discipline Mr. Pruitt or other agency staff. If he instead finds evidence of wrongdoing, he may refer the matter to other more investigative individuals, such as the Inspector General of the EPO or the Office of Special Counsel, an external agency investigating allegations of inappropriate political activity by Federal officials. amongst other things. These references are usually confidential, unless a misconduct is detected. Apol did not want to comment on the letter except to say he had received it. Jeffrey A. Lagda, spokesman for E.P.A. The Inspector General's office said he could not comment on any recommendations made by the agency's ethics officer. "Although I can acknowledge that we have received requests from the Congress regarding the specific issues mentioned," he said, "I can not comment on anything beyond that."