Pruitt Went Behind Trump’s Back to Give Aides Big Raises

Mitchell Resnick/Planet Pix via ZUMA

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EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is quite the operator. He hired a couple of his close aides from Oklahoma, and then asked the White House for permission to give them big pay raises. He was turned down. So he gave them big raises anyway:

A provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act allows the EPA administrator to hire up to 30 people into the agency, without White House or congressional approval….After the White House rejected their request, Pruitt’s team studied the particulars of the Safe Drinking Water provision, according to the source with direct knowledge of these events. By reappointing Greenwalt and Hupp under this authority, they learned, Pruitt could exercise total control over their contracts and grant the raises on his own.

Pruitt ordered it done. Though Hupp and Greenwalt’s duties did not change, the agency began processing them for raises of $28,130 and $56,765, respectively, compared with their 2017 salaries. Less than two weeks after Pruitt had approached the White House, according to time-stamped Human Resources documents shared with The Atlantic, the paperwork was finished.

Pruitt may be one of Donald Trump’s favorites, but Trump does not like people going behind his back to do the kind of stuff that Trump himself does. Plus, this whole business with the $50/day apartment he scored from a lobbyist friend is looking worse and worse. Trump obviously doesn’t care that Pruitt is hellbent on wrecking the environment—it pisses off the liberals, so that’s fine—but one of these days Pruitt’s shenanigans are going end up on the cover of Time, and Trump will finally decide that he’s tired of being upstaged. That’s how you get fired in Trumpland.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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