Lobbyist-turned-EPA appointee runs afoul of Trump’s own ethics rules

The Trump administration seems to have ignored its own ethics rules in appointing a federal lobbyist to a top post at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. President Trump signed an executive order barring any political appointees who were formerly lobbyists from participating in any work related to their previous careers for two years. Former fossil fuel lobbyist Elizabeth “Tate” Bennet is therefore unfit to be the deputy associate administrator of the EPA’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, whose role is to oversee all things legislative between the agency and Congress. In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jeff Merkley wrote, “Because of her activities as a registered federal lobbyist, she cannot work on legislation, communicate with Congress, or coordinate and monitor regional, state, and local responses to a wide range of major issues faced by EPA.” Prior to her appointment, Bennet worked for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, leading its fight against nearly a dozen Obama-era EPA regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule. Far from draining the swamp, Trump is filling it with even more lobbyists.  

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