News & Politics

Before Scott Pruitt Flees Town, Let’s Look Back at the Greatest Hits of His DC Life

We may never know which one did him in.

Pruitt in 2015. Photograph by Gage Skidmore.

Even by the standards of his coworkers, Scott Pruitt‘s spending flair was practically unmatched in DC. But on Thursday Pruitt resigned, leaving us with no one as shameless to look up to. What did him in? Well, with the number of Scott scandals, it’s hard to tell. Since we last rounded up his baller moves, he continued to make decisions that astounded even casual fans:

  • Pruitt had his scheduler reach out to Dan Cathy, chief executive of Chick-fil-A, to arrange a call about a “business opportunity.” The lucrative, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Asking if his wife, Marlyn Pruitt, could open a franchise in Tulsa. Unfortunately for Tulsa’s chicken lovers, she did not finish the application.
  • It turns out that Scott’s not picky—he just wanted staffers to find Marlyn any job with an annual salary above $200,000. She finally did get a gig, but the group says it paid her a figure with at least one less zero.
  • Remember the $50/night condo? Despite the bad press, Pruitt appreciated thrift, so he had a staffer ask if the Trump hotel had any used mattresses available for purchase. For some reason, the hotel surprisingly said no to this totally normal, reasonable, regular, common request.
  • His beefed-up security detail (which followed him around 24/7, a benefit unused by previous EPA chiefs) picked up his dry cleaning.
  • Their duties didn’t just include making sure Scott’s clothes are clean but also ensuring his hands were perfectly moisturized. He once had his (remember, expensive) detail drive him around the city in search of his favorite Ritz-Carlton hand lotion because the man knows what he wants.
  • Pruitt sent EPA staffers out during the workday to fetch his favorite finger foods and sweet snacks. In what can only be interpreted as a brave, environmentally friendly stance against wasteful K-Cups, he also reportedly had staffers brew him pour-overs.
  • But Scott isn’t heartless—he’s just trying to help his fam. That’s why he had three separate staffers help his daughter snag a White House internship. (Couldn’t she have just gone to the job fair?)
  • Sports and schmoozing naturally go together, so Pruitt did what all bosses do—asked his employees to get him Nats tickets and, on one occasion, early access to the team’s batting practice (though the game was rained out, it’s the access that counts). When he was finally able to see a game, he was entertained by Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who was angling for a Superfund cleanup site.
  • In December, Scott had some father-son bonding time with courtside seats at a University of Kentucky game, all courtesy of coal billionaire Joseph W. Craft III (clearly, a baller knows one when he sees one). He spread the wealth by bringing along his security detail and the Kentucky state police—a true gentleman.
  • Scott loved all sorts of sports. He got tickets to the Rose Bowl on the 50-yard line just five days before the game—at the face-value price of $175 a ticket, courtesy of a buddy who does PR for Big Oil. Who could expect the EPA administrator to sit in the nosebleeds?
  • Although the haters said he couldn’t have a bulletproof desk (rude), Pruitt still managed to bring his office redecoration bill to nearly $10,000 by requesting modest decorations, including three pieces of art on loan—thrift!—from the Smithsonian Institution, a gigantic framed photo with the President, and a (similarly huge) framed American flag.
  • For Scott’s EPA, safety was the main priority. That’s why his department spent $2,749.62 on “tactical” pants and polos. Don’t know what those are? “At a glance, tactical pants appear to be a simple cargo. Yet upon closer inspection, one finds strategic placement of an array of pockets tailored for the real-life action figure—someone ready to strike within a moment’s notice with all the necessary tools in reach,” reads the site TacitalGear. “Tactical pants have become the everyday armor for those who put their lives on the line.” At press time, reports of Pruitt ever putting his life on the line were unconfirmed.
  • Scott, like many new arrivals to DC, lived on U Street for a while—until he broke his lease. He then asked EPA advisers to look over the agreement to see if he could get out of the penalty.
  • Scott needed to keep his lines of credit free for any unexpected used mattress or tactical clothing sales, so, understandably, he asked EPA staffers to put his hotel rooms on their credit cards instead of his. Don’t worry, he’s a gentleman, so he had his chief of staff Ryan Jackson slip $600 cash into the drawer of one stiffed scheduler.

What was the last straw? Maybe the public shame of being yelled at by a mother with a toddler did it. Whatever it was, Scott’s amazing summer has now concluded. All that glitters cannot stay gold, because it eventually runs out of money.

Editorial Fellow

Emma Sarappo is an editorial fellow at Washingtonian. Her work has appeared in Tonic, PlanetForward, and The Bitter Southerner. She is from Nashville and never stops talking about it, and loves covering anything that takes itself too seriously.