Commentator Hugh Hewitt told not to report on Pruitt

FILE - In this April 26, 2018 file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt leaves after testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Washington Post has told columnist Hugh Hewitt not to write about Pruitt after it was revealed that Hewitt helped arrange a meeting with the EPA chief and lawyers interested in cleaning pollution in California. MSNBC on Wednesday, May 9, also said it had given Hewitt a verbal warning about the issue. Hewitt, who has a nationally syndicated radio show, also hosts a weekend show on the television news network. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

NEW YORK — The Washington Post has told columnist Hugh Hewitt not to write about Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt after it was revealed that Hewitt helped arrange a meeting with the EPA chief and lawyers interested in cleaning pollution in California.

MSNBC, where the conservative commentator hosts a weekend show, also said Wednesday that it has given Hewitt a "verbal warning" against such activities.

Hewitt, who also has a syndicated national radio show, calls it a non-story.

His interactions with Pruitt were disclosed in documents received by the Sierra Club after a Freedom of Information Act request and first written about in Politico. Hewitt emailed Pruitt to set up a meeting with colleagues in his law firm who represent the Orange County Water District, who want a site in the Anaheim area to get priority for a cleanup.

After the meeting, the site was listed in EPA's National Priorities list, which makes Orange County eligible for federal help in cleaning it up, according to Politico.

On the radio, Hewitt has been a supporter of Pruitt, who has received negative attention for questionable ethics regarding spending at the EPA.

The issue for the news organizations he also works for is the propriety of him seeking assistance from a government official that he might be talking about in those outlets.

Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at The Washington Post, said he was disturbed to learn of the story. Hewitt has agreed not to write about Pruitt in the future for the Post, he said.

Hewitt has never written a column solely about Pruitt, Hiatt said. The columnist has given Pruitt, who he has called a friend, a few favorable mentions. In one column last July, Hewitt called Pruitt one of the domestic policy stars of the Trump administration. He's also called him "very able" and said he's pursuing a much-needed agenda of rolling back regulations.

Hewitt has disclosed, in his columns, that his son James works at the EPA. He works in the press office there.

Hewitt has told of his friendship with Pruitt and his son's job on several occasions on MSNBC, spokeswoman Lorie Acio said. Because of those relationships, Hewitt has stopped discussing EPA-related matters on MSNBC. But when network executives learned of Hewitt's role setting up the meeting, "he was given a verbal warning as such activity is a violation of our standards," she said.

On his radio show, Hewitt seemed bewildered that it was a story, laughing as he read a description that said he "brokered" the meeting.

"I sent him an email to meet with the Orange County Water District," he said. "They're very proud of their plan. There's nobody who opposes this, by the way. It's an Obama-era plan. We just wanted to get it going. It's five square miles of polluted water. Yes, I'm all in favor of cleaning up the Superfund site in my home county."

He said, "we have real scandals out there. It's just amazing to me."

People also read these

2 Fox News execs named co-presidents, will report...

Aug 12, 2016

Rupert Murdoch moves to set up a new management structure at Fox News following Roger Ailes'...

At 93, legendary climber Fred Beckey still...

Aug 13, 2016

Legendary Seattle climber Fred Beckey is the focus of a new documentary film about his life

'Suicide Squad' loses some luster in 2nd...

Aug 14, 2016

"Suicide Squad" isn't looking as bright in weekend two, dropping an estimated 67 percent

Box Office Top 20: 'Sausage Party' scarfs up...

Aug 15, 2016

It was a feast for the raunchy animated comedy "Sausage Party" at the box office this weekend

Rape case from the past casts pallor on 'Birth of...

Aug 17, 2016

Hollywood trade publications are reporting that a woman who accused filmmaker Nate Parker of rape...

About Us

The World Insiders brings you exclusive coverage from across the globe in a timely, easy to consume format sourced directly from our regional media partners.

Contact us: sales[at]theworldinsiders.com

Subscribe Now!