Former Lobbyist Helped Arrange Scott Pruitt Trip to Australia

Matthew Freedman, a consulting executive who used to work with ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, helped set up a trip for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to Australia, according to emails obtained by The New York Times. The trip never took place, but Freedman sent over suggestions of people Pruitt could meet with and claimed he was already speaking with government officials about the trip. Freedman is the current treasurer of the American Australian Council, of which Chevron and ConocoPhillips are members. He reportedly worked with Manafort in the 1980s, and was also on President Trump’s 2016 transition team—but was booted off when he was found “conducting government business using an email address associated with his consulting firm,” the newspaper reported. Freedman used a similar email address to coordinate Pruitt’s Australia trip with EPA officials and lobbyist Richard Smotkin—who helped organize Pruitt’s trip to Morocco in December. Freedman asked that his involvement in the trip not be disclosed. The Times reports that Freedman is not registered to lobby for Australia, or any other foreign or domestic clients.