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Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, gestures as he testifies to the Senate Environment and ...

Top ethics officer seeks expanded probe of EPA chief

The federal government’s top ethics officer is asking for an expanded investigation of Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt to address recent allegations that he used aides to conduct personal business for him.

READ MORE: Emails contradict Pruitt’s accounts of events under ethics investigations

David Apol, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, made the request to EPA’s inspector general in a letter Friday. He is asking that the investigations be expedited so he can decide whether to begin “a formal corrective action” and make recommendations to President Donald Trump.

Pruitt already is the subject of several investigations over his use of first-class travel, security detail and spending.

Apol says the American public needs assurances that allegations of ethical misconduct are investigated and addressed.

READ MORE: All of the ways embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt has changed energy policy

Earlier, President Donald Trump praised Scott Pruitt’s work as head of the Environmental Protection Agency — but stressing his concerns as well.

Trump told reporters Friday that Pruitt was doing a “fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding.” But Trump went on to say three times — “I’m not happy about certain things.”

Pruitt is the target of a series of federal investigations into allegations over his first-class travel, security and other issues. Trump did not refer to the allegations specifically. Growing numbers of Republican lawmakers have joined Democrats in blasting the embattled EPA chief over the ethics allegations.

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