Oklahoma Bar Association opens investigation of ex-AG Pruitt

FILE- In this Feb. 21, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to employees of the EPA in Washington. The Oklahoma Bar Association has opened an investigation into an ethics complaint against former state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, now administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a letter from the association's general counsel dated March 21. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Oklahoma Bar Association has opened an investigation following an ethics complaint against former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Gina Hendryx, general counsel for the Oklahoma Bar Association, notified the Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen Van de Biezenbos that her organization had opened the investigation into Pruitt.

The center and Van de Biezenbos filed the complaint last week seeking an investigation into Pruitt's testimony to a U.S. Senate Committee during hearings prior to his confirmation as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I’m very pleased the Oklahoma Bar Association has agreed to investigate this matter,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center. “Lying to Congress is a serious ethical breach, and it doesn’t help that Pruitt’s use of private emails reflect potential collusion with the very oil and gas industry he’s now supposed to be regulating.”

The complaint states that Pruitt violated Oklahoma's rules of professional conduct while stating he did not use a personal email address to conduct business while Attorney General of Oklahoma. A FOX 25 investigation revealed that Pruitt in fact did use a personal email address to conduct state business.

Hendryx states that Pruitt has been contacted asking for a response to the grievance. Once the investigation is complete, it will be presented to the Professional Responsibility Commission for further action. The investigation will remain confidential and those that filed the complaint will be notified when the investigation is complete.

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