Scott Pruitt, former Oklahoma Attorney General and former trustee at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), resigned his position as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) July 5 after months of ethical allegations, according to news reports.
Pruitt, a member of First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla., was nominated by then-president-elect Donald Trump to lead the agency in late 2016.
Some critics opposed Pruitt’s confirmation for his positions on climate change, but he received support from many Southern Baptist leaders, including SBTS President Albert Mohler; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Anthony Jordan, former executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). News reports said allegations against Pruitt include mismanagement of the EPA office by overspending on travel and security, asking office staff to complete personal errands and using his position to solicit personal favors.
The accusations have prompted more than a dozen probes by federal investigators, such as the agency’s Office of Inspector General and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is led by fellow conservative U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.). Nick Garland, pastor of FBC Broken Arrow, defended Pruitt in statements to Baptist Press, calling the allegations personal attacks from political adversaries.
Pruitt is at least the second person with Southern Baptist ties to resign from Trump’s cabinet, Baptist Press reported. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned in 2017 amid allegations he misused taxpayer funds.