Scott Pruitt Omitted Crucial Details Of D.C. Condo Rental, EPA Ethics Official Says
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is being scrutinized over his rental of a Capitol Hill condo, and not all of the information on the scandal has yet been revealed.
Scott Pruitt Condo Rental Scandal News
Pruitt rented a room in a condo co-owned by health-care lobbyist Vicki Hart for $50 per night. Hart is married to Steven Hart, an energy lobbyist. Steven Hart’s firm Williams and Jensen had clients with business before the EPA.
Now, a top EPA ethics official has said he is missing important deals about Pruitt’s condo lease. The agency’s Kevin Minoli originally determined that the lease was not considered a gift that would be deemed illegal under federal ethics regulations. Minoli described this in a March 30 memo.
However, in a new memo, Minoli stressed that he only assessed the terms of the rental, and not any other unrelated activities.
This latest development comes just as members of Donald Trump’s administration have lambasted Pruitt — who tried to sue the EPA several times before becoming the agency’s leader — for how he has handled multiple distinct claims of ethical misconduct.
Several top White House aides reportedly have strong reasons to believe Pruitt was very involved in allowing giant pay increases in March for two staff members that joined the agency.
Officials at the White House are also reportedly frustrated over the fact that Pruitt decided to give a 25-minute interview to Fox News on Wednesday to talk about the condo rental. Administration officials had reportedly urged Pruitt not to make any television appearances to discuss the matter or any other subjects.
Nevertheless, Pruitt discussed the controversy with Fox News’ Ed Henry, and the interview unsurprisingly grew tense.
When questioned about the raises, Pruitt said in the interview, “My staff and I found out about it yesterday and I changed it,”
Pruitt was repeatedly asked about the pay raises and who was behind them. Pruitt said he did not know whether an EPA employee or someone else authorized the increases.
“You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?” Henry asked.
“I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it,” Pruitt answered.
Regarding the condo, some reports have also claimed that Pruitt’s daughter also leased a different room in the condo.
Pruitt’s condo scandal is just one of several that have engulfed current administration officials. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was recently discovered to have paid for a $31,000 dining set for his office. Carson later blamed his wife and staffers for the decision to install and renovate the dining set.
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price was forced to resign in September after it was discovered he used more than $500,000 in taxpayer money on private jet flights to other countries.