The biggest untapped onshore trove of oil in North America is believed to lie beneath the refuge’s coastal plain along the Beaufort Sea. For more than a generation, opposition to drilling has left the refuge largely unscathed, but now the Trump administration, working with Republicans in Congress and an influential and wealthy Alaska Native corporation, is clearing the way for oil exploration along the coast.
The E.P.A. chief, who has reversed Obama-era rules on coal mining, enjoyed a superfan experience at a University of Kentucky basketball game — courtesy of an industry executive. But there was more to the game last December than a superfan experience for Mr. Pruitt and his son, who joined him. They sat in seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Mr. Craft and his wife donated more than $2 million to support President Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
At the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of Mr. Pruitt’s political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.
In the weeks after the election, Richard Cordray, the Democrat who leads the agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, directed his staff to compile stories from ordinary Americans thanking it for resolving complaints. The anecdotes, which he solicited in an email to share with the Trump transition team, could provide a counterpoint to critics who had cast the agency as a regulatory scourge on the economy. And implicit in his request to employees was the belief that some accolades would come from parts of the country that helped elect Mr. Trump — evidence that the popularity of consumer safeguards transcends party divisions.
As cash has flooded Washington from a variety of groups, even the anti-establishment activists and operatives who sided with President Trump have been enriched. Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, reported earning more than $1 million in income tied to conservative-oriented work, with at least $500,000 of that from entities linked to the conservative megadonor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, including the Breitbart News Network and Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm partly owned by Mr. Mercer that worked for the Trump campaign.
The latest hacked emails from WikiLeaks highlight how the news that Hillary Clinton used a private server sent the White House and her campaign scrambling. The release also followed months of Republican arguments that the Obama administration had coordinated with the Clinton campaign to limit the damage from the emails, up to and including the Justice Department’s decision this summer not to prosecute her.