For the most part, Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees have been confirmed without too much trouble. Betsy DeVos faced heavy opposition, but the Republican majority secured her nomination despite united opposition from the Democrats and defectors from the GOP.
However, Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, may be in for a bit more of a fight. MSNBC has reported that an Oklahoma County District Court judge ordered Pruitt to release thousands of emails and other communications to a watchdog organization, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
According to their website:
‘The Center for Media and Democracy is a national watchdog group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy.’
The order was just the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle between Pruitt and the CMD. The lawsuit has its origins in a 2015 dispute in which the watchdog group filed a request under the Oklahoma Open Records Act asking Pruitt to hand over thousands of official documents. Pruitt refused and the case went to court.
The CMD has requested copies of the communications between Pruitt and Koch industries, mining companies, and the Republican Attorneys General Association, which Pruitt once chaired. As of Thursday, Pruitt’s office had only produced 411 of the 3,000 documents requested by the CMD.
Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons of the District Court of Oklahoma County ordered Pruitt to turn over the emails by Tuesday and said that Pruitt had 10 days to hand over the rest of the documents.
In the ruling, Timmons stated that “there was an abject failure to provide prompt and reasonable access to documents requested.”
This ruling comes only a day before Pruitt’s expected hearing regarding his nomination to lead the Department of Energy. So far, Democrats have been successful in stalling the vote regarding Pruitt and cite the numerous alleged violations of open record laws as part of the reason for their opposition.
Aside from the open records violations, Pruitt has faced criticism for the fact that he has frequently sued the agency which is he being considered to lead and is generally seen as being on the side of industries that are harmful to the environment.
For more information on Pruitt, you can see the Wall Street Journal’s report below:
Featured image via Getty Images.