SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging it failed to comply with a request for documents that might indicate whether agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has a conflict of interest.
The lawsuit in federal court in Washington seeks an order to force the EPA to turn over the documents.
Pruitt has stated that he would recuse himself from some cases in which he had sued the EPA while serving as Oklahoma's attorney general, but a memo released by the agency indicated that Pruitt might not abstain from EPA rulemaking on the same issues that are the subject of his litigation.
Becerra used the Freedom of Information Act to request documents involving the issues on which potential conflicts could exist, but said the papers have not been provided.
"Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration are not above the law," Becerra said in a statement. "The public has a right to know whether Administrator Pruitt and the EPA have complied with federal ethics laws."
Becerra said a close examination of Pruitt is justified, "now that he has taken a direct role in initiating review of numerous EPA regulations he sought to undo while serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General for six years."