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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 01:16 AM
Number of posts: 2,918

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

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Pruitt and Chief of Staff Personally Approved Pay Raises of Up to 72 Percent for Top Aides, IG Finds

By Eric Katz, GovExec.com

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on the pay raise of at least one employee through an obscure hiring authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while his chief of staff signed off on several others on his behalf, according to a new report. The report contradicts Pruitt’s previous claims that he was unaware of the raises.

Pruitt personally approved the hiring of and subsequent title change for an employee in an “administratively determined” position, according to a “management alert” issued by EPA’s inspector general on Monday. The new role resulted in a 26.7 percent raise, or about a $21,000 bump. Six other employees received raises through the Safe Drinking Water Act, all of whom had their new salaries signed off on by Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson “for Scott Pruitt.”

Pruitt personally authorized and signed for the initial hiring of three of those employees.

Three employees were originally hired either by Pruitt or Jackson in “administratively determined” positions, converted Schedule C political appointees, and later converted back to AD roles. The total salary increases after those transitions ranged from 25 percent to 72 percent, or from $12,000 to $66,000.



Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles: state TV

Source: Rueters

(Reuters) - Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in a U.S.-led attack on the country on Saturday, Syrian state TV said.

It said the missiles had been shot down in the Kiswah area south of Damascus, the capital.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of three scientific research centers had been hit in the attacks - two in Damascus and one in the Homs area - in addition to military bases in Damascus.

The Observatory said all the bases and facilities struck in the attack had been evacuated by the Syrian government earlier this week.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-target/syrian-air-defenses-shot-down-13-missiles-state-tv-idUSKBN1HL042

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

By ERICH WAGNER. http://www.govexec.com

The career ethics official who initially cleared Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s $50-per-night rental agreement for a room in a Capitol Hill two-bedroom condo owned by lobbyists appeared to backtrack on that approval Wednesday, saying it was based on the text of the lease, not how the property was actually used.

Kevin Minoli, EPA’s principal deputy general counsel and the agency’s designated ethics official, issued a new memo explaining the rationale for his original verdict on the lease. In it, he noted finding a number of Airbnb listings in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill apartment for single rooms in the neighborhood of $55 per night. But he said his decision was based on the text of the rental agreement with health care lobbyist Vicki Hart, not necessarily the reality of Pruitt’s tenure at the residence.

“The review addressed the terms of the lease as they were written in the lease agreement only,” Minoli wrote. “Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease. Evaluating those questions would have required factual information that was not before us and the review does not address those questions.”

Additionally, Minoli said his analysis did not take into consideration whether Pruitt provided favorable treatment to Vicki Hart’s husband, Steven Hart, as a result of the rental. Steven Hart is chairman of Williams and Jensen, a lobbying firm with a number of clients who fall under the EPA’s jurisdiction.

“The review addressed those parts of the federal ethics regulations that regard gifts, but was not intended to and did not address other portions of the federal ethics regulations such as the impartiality rule,” Minoli wrote. “It is important to note that the federal ethics regulations regarding impartiality apply regardless of whether something involves receiving a prohibited gift.”

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