American Oversight Sues EPA to Release Pruitt’s Calendars and Communications with Carl Icahn

Lawsuit Seeks Release of Communications with Carl Icahn Related to Regulation Changes that Would Benefit his Holdings

Washington, DC – American Oversight today filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the release of communications with investor and White House advisor Carl Icahn, along with calendars and phone logs for Administrator Scott Pruitt and other top agency officials.

“President Trump tapping Carl Icahn to give advice on energy regulations is the definition of conflict of interest,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “We need to know what kind of influence Mr. Icahn has at the EPA to see if he has been shaping energy policy to benefit himself at the expense of American families. It seems Mr. Icahn, like so many other Trump administration officials, may be using his position for his own personal financial benefit.”

On December 21st, President-elect Trump announced his intent to appoint Carl Icahn to serve as a “special advisor” to the president on regulatory reform. Subsequent reports have indicated that Mr. Icahn may have used his role in the administration to advocate for regulatory changes that would benefit him financially. In particular, reports indicate that Mr. Icahn has used his influence at the EPA to seek changes to ethanol regulations that would have saved CVR Energy, one of his holdings, over $200 million in 2016.

Scott Pruitt has repeatedly shown himself to be malleable to industry influence both in his former role as the Oklahoma Attorney General and now as EPA Administrator.  As attorney general Mr. Pruitt maintained close ties with the oil and gas industry as well as other sectors that he was responsible for scrutinizing.  American Oversight seeks to learn the extent to which Mr. Pruitt has continued his pattern of maintaining unduly close relationships with those he was charged with regulating.

On April 5, 2017, American Oversight filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the EPA seeking communications between senior agency officials, including Administrator Pruitt, and Carl Icahn, as well as representatives of CVR Energy. Separately, American Oversight also requested calendars and phone logs for Mr. Pruitt and his top aides and officials at the EPA. After failing to receive an adequate response from the EPA, American Oversight filed suit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the administration to release the records.

Evers continued, “In just 6 months in office, it seems President Trump and Scott Pruitt are letting the foxes take charge of the henhouse and abdicating regulatory authority to companies that stand to profit by undermining regulations.”

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