The acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency noting his concerns about administrator Scott Pruitt.
"The success of our government depends on maintaining the trust of the people we serve," David J. Apol, the acting director, wrote in the letter, The New York Times reported.
"The American public needs to have confidence that ethics violations, as well as the appearance of ethics violations, are investigated and appropriately addressed," Apol wrote.
The letter notes three areas of concern — Pruitt renting a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist, trips home to Oklahoma on government flights, and reports that staff members might have been transferred or demoted over questioning Pruitt's actions.
"If true, it is hard to imagine any action that could more effectively undermine an agency's integrity than punishing or marginalizing employees who strive to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations that safeguard that integrity," Apol wrote.
The ethics office does not have the authority to take action against Pruitt, or demand that Pruitt respond to the letter. But as the executive branch's chief ethics officer, Apol could ask President Donald Trump to take action, according to the Times.
President Trump took to Twitter on Saturdday to defend Pruitt:
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