Beleaguered Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt — who’s currently under more than a dozen ethical investigations surrounding everything from travel expenses to lobbying rules to housing arrangements to mattress purchases — at least thinks of others from time to time. Today, the Washington Post reports that among the slew of potential ethics violations committed after he took office, Pruitt once enlisted an EPA aide to try to land his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise.
According to WaPo, Pruitt requested a meeting with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. Though that phone call never took place, Pruitt did speak to a member of the Chick-fil-A legal department to express “interest in his wife becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee,” company representative Carrie Kurlander told the Post. Marlyn Pruitt apparently started, but never completed, the official application.
Franchising a Chick-fil-A location includes an “initial financial fee” of $10,000 — but it’s not the only cost. Once the restaurant is up and running, franchisees pay the company 15 percent of gross sales, plus 50 percent of the remaining pretax profit, each month. In the informal application, Chick-fil-A describes its ideal franchisees as people who “have a proven track record in business leadership” and “are prepared to have no other active business venture.”
Running a fast-food franchise might seem like an unlikely match for Marlyn Pruitt (in a federal financial form, Marlyn’s annual income was listed as “none”). But ideologically, Cathy’s politics appear to align with those of the Pruitt family. The chain famously “operate[s] on biblical principles,” and in 2013, Cathy spoke out against marriage equality, saying that “our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.” The chain, however, remains America’s favorite fast-food restaurant.