OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office released more than 7,500 pages of documents late Tuesday afternoon after a district judge ordered them to do that by end of the business day.
This was all part of an open records request by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group out of Wisconsin.
They requested all communication between Scott Pruitt and his staff with large energy corporations, after a 2014 New York Times article that detailed how Pruitt signed his name to a letter drafted by Devon Energy attorneys.
That open records request was made two years ago and the CMD sued to get the documents after they said the AG’s office was not turning them over.
The CMD made those e-mails and documents public and many of them are about setting up lunches and dinners or other get togethers with Pruitt and his staff, executives at Devon Energy and other large energy corporations.
“What you see is more of this relationship, the tightness of that relationship and the sort of love affair between him and his staff and these energy company lobbyists,” said Lisa Graves. “What you see is a very hand in glove tight relationship between this public officer and these very private, very special interest, some of the richest interests in the country.”
Graves says the e-mails show how closely Pruitt has worked with energy companies.
“How many exclamation points you would use in this gratitude or his staff would use in gratitude to these companies for providing him basically the talking points or arguments to make in these issues over the Environmental Protection Agency rules to protect our water, our air,” said Graves.
Graves believes this is just the tip of the iceberg of Pruitt’s communications with private interests.
And while she doesn’t feel the information in these e-mails would cause him to lose his job as administrator of the EPA, she says they will shine a bright light on his activities at the agency.
“How much he’s going to use his position to basically buddy up and help his friends, his friends that these e-mails show he’s very close to in trying to advance their interests over the public interest,” said Graves.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office sent us this statement:
“This afternoon the Office of Attorney General complied with a Court’s order regarding a January 2015 Open Records Act request. In fact, the Office went above and beyond what is required under the Open Records Act and produced thousands of additional documents that, but for the Court’s order, would typically be considered records outside the scope of the Act. This broad disclosure should provide affirmation that, despite politically motivated allegations, the Office of Attorney General remains fully committed to the letter and spirit of the Open Records Act.” - Lincoln Ferguson, Press Secretary.
Devon Energy sent us this statement:
• Our engagement with Scott Pruitt as Attorney General of Oklahoma is consistent – and proportionate – with our commitment to engage in conversations with policymakers on a broad range of matters that promote jobs, economic growth and a robust domestic energy sector.
• In some cases, we serve as a resource with useful information and expertise for decision-makers.
• We have a clear obligation to our shareholders and others to be involved in these discussions related to job growth, economic growth and domestic energy. It is important that we give full consideration to policymaker requests for information and expertise on industry issues. It would be indefensible for us to not be engaged in these important issues.