Wait, There’s More: News of Another Administration Official Using Personal Email

Over the weekend, the Guardian reported that Scott Pruitt had used a personal email account for government business during his controversial tenure as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

It seems that the lesson of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server — a major focus of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as numerous congressional hearings — failed to make an impression on more than one member of the administration (or perhaps that lesson was just ignored). In November, news broke that Ivanka Trump had used personal email for White House business on hundreds of occasions, a fact discovered by White House officials thanks to American Oversight records requests.

It is hardly surprising that Pruitt would also have difficulty in following accountability rules. In the spring of 2018, American Oversight discovered that then–EPA Administrator Pruitt’s installation of a soundproof phone booth in his office cost nearly $43,000, and filed multiple FOIA requests and subsequent lawsuits to uncover other abuses of taxpayer dollars.

The continual pile-up of Pruitt’s ethics scandals eventually led to his resignation in early July, and Andrew Wheeler, his deputy, took over at the agency. American Oversight has filed multiple FOIA requests, seeking any communications Wheeler had with energy industry representatives and Congress, as well as his calendars. We’ve also expanded our investigation into Ivanka Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s personal email use, and are looking into whether other administration officials improperly used personal email for government business in violation of the Federal Records Act.