Washington Post: Lobbyist Helped Arrange Scott Pruitt’s $100,000 Trip to Morocco
A controversial trip to Morocco by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt last December was partly arranged by a longtime friend and lobbyist, who accompanied Pruitt and his entourage at multiple stops and served as an informal liaison at both official and social events during the visit.
Ethics experts note that it is highly unusual for someone outside the U.S. government to help arrange such travel details for the head of a federal agency. Larry Noble, senior director and general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said Tuesday that the lobbyist’s involvement raises issues about whether Pruitt went to Morocco partly to bolster Smotkin’s standing within the kingdom.
“It shows, at the very least, a tremendous amount of sloppiness, and it raises ethical issues about the relationship between Smotkin and Pruitt,” Noble said. “If Pruitt did this to benefit Smotkin and did this to show that Smotkin has an in with the EPA administrator, then he’s using his official office to benefit a private person.”