Oversight chairman probes Pruitt's $50-a-night condo deal

Oversight chairman probes Pruitt's $50-a-night condo deal
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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyMore than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case Sunday shows preview: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, lawmakers address dwindling state budgets John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America MORE (R-S.C.) has begun probing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE’s $50-a-night housing arrangement on Capitol Hill, a GOP source told The Hill Friday night.

The investigation adds to a growing controversy surrounding Pruitt, who already faces some calls to resign from both sides of the aisle.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee “has been looking into Pruitt’s condo deal,” a Gowdy aide said. “The EPA produced documents to the Committee this week, including both the March 30 and April 4 memos.”

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The pair of internal memos were written by Kevin Minoli, the EPA’s designated ethics official. In the first memo, Minoli concluded that Pruitt’s $50-a-night lease with co-owner Vicki Hart — the wife of an energy lobbyist — did not violate federal gift rules.

But just days later, on Wednesday, Minoli wrote in another memo that he made that conclusion without having all the facts.

“Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease,” Minoli wrote, according to The Washington Post. “Evaluating those questions would have required factual information that was not before us and the review does not address those questions.” 

Gowdy has been under mounting pressure to step up his investigation into Pruitt, who’s faced a barrage of negative headlines in recent weeks related to his living arrangements and spending on private jets, office furniture and a security detail. 

Pruitt has maintained the lease followed ethics requirements and that his spending is not excessive.

In February, Gowdy began investigating Pruitt over numerous first-class flights funded by taxpayers. But so far, the retiring GOP chairman has not acted on calls by his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFacial recognition tools under fresh scrutiny amid police protests The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland MORE of Maryland, to bring Pruitt before his committee to personally answer lawmakers’ questions.

Dozens of Democrats on Friday called for Pruitt to resign or be fired. Three House Republicans — Reps. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenTechNet hires Hispanic communications director Bottom line Women are refusing to take the backseat in politics, especially Latinas MORE (R-Fla.), Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloThe Memo: GOP cringes at new Trump race controversy Trump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Republicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea MORE (R-Fla.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter Pentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (R-N.Y.) — also have called for Pruitt's ouster.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE has indicated support for Pruitt, but noted this week he would be looking into the mounting accusations against him.