Conservative MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt personally lobbied Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to clean up a toxic-waste site near his home in Orange County, California.
Politico reported Tuesday that the right-wing radio host and MSNBC weekend anchor personally contacted Pruitt to arrange a meeting between the EPA head and a law firm that directly pays Hewitt and represents the Orange County Water District.
The EPA administrator eventually met with the law firm several weeks later and subsequently moved the waste site onto its list of contaminated areas to address and proposed listing it on the agency’s National Priorities List—a registry of sites the agency considers the most serious, and which potentially qualify for long-term federal cleanup funding.
It’s unclear whether Hewitt violated MSNBC’s ethical rules for anchors. The network did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Neither did Hewitt, whose son James works for the EPA as a press secretary.
Hewitt did, however, tweet Tuesday that his personal lobbying of Pruitt’s EPA was no big deal.
The network has taken more serious action against anchors who have engaged in political activity beyond their on-screen roles in the past.
For his part, however, Hewitt did not think his personal lobbying was a big deal.
“Non story,” he said in one tweet. “But yes, I asked for meeting. Proud to have done so though it isn’t my client. It was my home and I have served as County appointee for 17 years. Nasty place needs clean up ASAP,” he wrote in another post.
He suggested there were no ethical violations because his viewers are well-aware of his political bias and connections to Pruitt’s EPA. “I have disclosed my friendship with Scott Pruitt about 300 times on air, whenever I have discussed @EPA issues on air or in print,” he wrote. “Every. Single. Time.”