After EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrongfully accused EPA's attorneys of colluding with outside parties, NTEU Chapter 280 came to their defense with a strongly-worded rebuke of the Administrator's improper accusations.
The Administrator's memorandum contained inaccuracies that misrepresented the litigation policies and practices of both Republican and Democrat administrations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S Department of Justice (DOJ), which date to at least the Reagan Administration.
The Administrator's use of the term collusion, or an "agreement between two or more persons to defraud another of his rights by the forms of law or to secure an object forbidden by law," was inflammatory and unacceptable. NTEU urged the Administrator to withdraw his memorandum, noting that while it is the Administrator's prerogative to set the policy direction of the agency, "it is not acceptable to falsely accuse [his] staff of unlawful or unethical behavior when it simply did not occur."
NTEU also requested a meeting with the Administrator to discuss his allegations. The requested meeting has not been forthcoming. Despite that, the Acting General Counsel, Kevin Minoli, did respond noting that the Administrator's statement regarding collusion is not a conclusion of the Administrator, "but rather describes the concerns of those outside of the agency who wanted to participate in the process for resolving a particular case but could not." Mr. Minoli then noted:
I want to be clear that I have not witnessed any illegal collusive activities between members of our office and any outside entity. I would not tolerate such an act if it had occurred[.]
To read Chapter 280's full letter to the Administrator, click here.
In addition to NTEU Chapter 280's letter, a group of former EPA attorneys also penned a letter to the Administrator taking him to task about not only his memorandum, but also his entire policy against so-called sue-and-settle. To read the former attorney letter, click here.