CNN: Pruitt Reimbursed Himself $65,000 From Oklahoma Attorney General Campaign
A CNN analysis has found that embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt paid himself nearly $65,000 in reimbursements from his two campaigns for Oklahoma attorney general, a move at least one election watchdog has sharply criticized as being recorded so vaguely that there was no way to tell if such payments were lawful.
Some of the reporting may also violate Oklahoma campaign finance rules, according to research done by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group.
"This is useless reporting," said Larry Noble, the former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. He is now at the Campaign Legal Center and is a CNN contributor. "There's no way of telling if this is a personal expense. ... You couldn't do this on the federal (level) -- it's illegal."
Noble said Oklahoma rules require campaigns to "show the ultimate vendor and an adequate description so you know what the item was for." Because some of the payments to Pruitt do not do that, "It was not at all clear that these were all lawful," Noble said.
Noble noted that the campaigns, however, still made direct payments of more than $1.6 million.
"So he's not running the campaign through his credit card," Noble said.
Because of the limited information and lack of transparency, it's impossible to determine whether the purchases were appropriate and for official purposes, Noble said.
"Do we know how the campaign spent its money? No," Noble said. "How do you enforce a personal use prohibition unless you know how the money is being used? ... This is not any way you want to have a campaign finance log."