Wheeler said he’d steer clear of past lobbying clients while running the EPA—and yet they've already met.

Credit: EPA

When Andrew Wheeler took over as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he reassured the public that his history as a chemical industry lobbyist wouldn’t compromise his new role. But less than a month into the new gig, reports are already surfacing that Wheeler has met with multiple former clients since joining the agency—including a biodiesel producer and an agricultural company. While the EPA is defending the meetings, arguing that Wheeler worked with those clients long enough ago as to not trigger an ethics breach, Wheeler had previously pledged to go above and beyond to avoid conflicts of interest, or even their appearance. “If I lobbied on something, I don't think it's appropriate for me to participate,” he said in June. You’d think Wheeler would practice an abundance of caution after watching his predecessor Scott Pruitt go down in a firestorm of scandal, but apparently not.

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