June 14, 2018

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves New Ethics Provision in Interior, Environment Appropriations Bill

New language addresses the unprecedented ethics scandals plaguing Trump administration - especially at EPA

Was accepted by the full committee as part of an amendment package adopted on a unanimous voice vote

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, announced that the full Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved an amendment to ensure that ethics standards are upheld by the Trump administration. The new report language, included as part of the FY2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, firmly directs that no appropriated funds should be used to break standards of ethical conduct that govern executive branch employees. The committee’s action comes following months of reported ethical and financial scandals by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and in the midst of increasing bipartisan calls for accountability for violations of ethical standards and misuse of funds.

“I am pleased that we were able to agree on language for the Manager’s package that addresses the ethics scandals plaguing this administration,” Udall said at today’s markup. “I am appalled at the number of scandals piling up – especially at the EPA. Frankly, it’s hard to even keep track.”

“While I would have preferred bill language, I think the report language we are including sends a strong message,” Udall continued. “It directs that none of the funds provided in the bill should be used to break the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. These are regulations that cover situations like the use of one’s position for private gain and the use of official time to perform official duties. I think it’s just common sense to make it clear – in a spending bill – that individuals entrusted with spending taxpayer dollars must maintain a basic level of ethical behavior.”

The text of the amendment is below:

Ethics Compliance in Spending Federal Funds. The Committee feels strongly that it is essential that agencies provided funding in this Act comply with all applicable ethics regulations. To that end, the Committee directs that none of the funds made available in this Act may be used in contravention of 5 CFR § 2635, the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.