Pruitt raised pay of two aides after White House declined to approve application: report

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittSierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change 'is 50 to 75 years out' EPA on 'forever chemicals': Let them drink polluted water EPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' MORE reportedly increased the pay of two close aides even after the White House declined to approve an application for raises.

Pruitt wanted raises for two of his aides — Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp — that had come to Washington with him from Oklahoma, The Atlantic reported. Pruitt requested that Greenwalt’s salary be raised from $107,435 to $164,200 and Hupp’s from $86,460 to $114,590, according to the news outlet.

The application was reportedly dismissed and the White House did not approve the request, however.

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Instead, Pruitt reappointed the two aides under a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which lets the EPA administrator hire up to 30 people without having White House or congressional approval, The Atlantic reported.

Pruitt could have full control over the aides' pay by reappointing them in this way, according to The Atlantic.

Two sources told the news outlet that the move shows that Pruitt played favorites among his staffers.

“This whole thing has completely gutted any morale I had left to put up with this place," one EPA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Atlantic.

The report comes after a report that the White House is reviewing Pruitt's activities amid a controversy over his housing arrangement.

It was reported last week that Pruitt rented a Washington, D.C.,condo co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night, well below the market rate.

The New York Times reported that the EPA approved a project for one of the lobbyist's companies while Pruitt was staying in the condo.

A White House official then told The Wall Street Journal that the administration is launching the inquiry to "dig a little deeper" into the rental agreement. 

A top EPA ethics official said in a statement last Friday that the arrangement did not violate EPA ethics rules. 

Pruitt has been at the center of several controversies surrounding his personal spending. It was reported earlier this year that he spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on first-class travel while on agency business. It was also reported Monday that Pruitt's aides were considering leasing a private jet for him for $100,000 a month.