So far, 2018 hasn’t been a great year for Scott Pruitt, considering that the EPA Administrator has been lurching from one scandal to the next. Pruitt had already distinguished himself with his preference for opulent, non-secure hotels while on official travel; with his predilection for first-class flights on taxpayers’ dime; with his insistence that he receive a 24-hour security detail fit for a king, comprising up to 20 bodyguards; and with the plush DC condominium he’s reportedly been renting, for a very attractive $50 a night, from the wife of a Beltway oil and gas lobbyist.
The embattled Donald Trump appointee is currently the subject of at least two ethics investigations.
Today’s Pruitt controversy concerns a commemorative coin that the wanted the EPA to order:
When Scott Pruitt wanted to refashion the Environmental Protection Agency’s “challenge coin” — a type of souvenir medallion with military origins that has become a status symbol among civilians — he proposed an unusual design: Make it bigger, and delete the E.P.A. logo.
Mr. Pruitt instead wanted the coin to feature some combination of symbols more reflective of himself and the Trump administration. Among the possibilities: a buffalo, to evoke Mr. Pruitt’s native Oklahoma, and a[n unspecified] Bible verse to reflect his faith.
Plans for the coin were ultimately put on hold. Just as well. Given the Establishment Clause, minting a government coin with a Bible verse would have been patently against the highest law of the land. Either Pruitt didn’t care, or he relished the thought of the sure-to-erupt legal brouhaha so that he could play the martyred Christian, attacked by secular elites.
Ronald Slotkin, a now-retired EPA career employee who directed the agency’s multimedia office, was present during some internal deliberations about the coin.
“These coins represent the agency,” said Mr. Slotkin. … “But Pruitt wanted his coin to be bigger than everyone else’s and he wanted it in a way that represented him.” Mr. Slotkin said that during the design discussion, in which he participated, Mr. Pruitt wanted to remove “anything to do with E.P.A.” The changes, he said, would have turned it into a “Pruitt coin.”
(Screenshot via YouTube)