Energy & Environment

Pruitt paid $50 a night to live at condo co-owned by top energy lobbyist’s wife

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt paid $50 a night to live in a condo co-owned by the wife of a lobbyist with clients regulated by the agency. 

Pruitt paid to rent the room in the two-bedroom condo only on nights when he actually slept there, Bloomberg News first reported Thursday.

Over the course of roughly six months, Pruitt paid $6,100 for the room. Those payments, however, came on sporadic dates and in different amounts, unlike traditional monthly rent payments, the EPA confirmed to The Hill.

{mosads}A spokesman for the EPA said the arrangement took place while Pruitt was transitioning to Washington and that he moved out in July, more than four months after his confirmation.

“While transitioning to Washington, Administrator Pruitt signed a lease to rent a bedroom in a condo and he moved out at the end of July,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement. 

A lease agreement reviewed by Bloomberg showed that Pruitt was charged $50 a night “based on days of actual occupancy.”

The living arrangement was not reviewed by the EPA in advance, and the agency had to seek documentation from the building’s owners to prove that Pruitt paid for the room, Bloomberg reported.

Pruitt himself was not able to provide the agency with any documentation of his lease or payments.

Justina Fugh, the senior counsel for ethics at the EPA, said the living arrangement did not present an ethics issue. 

“I don’t conclude that this is a prohibited gift at all. It was a routine business transaction and permissible even if from a personal friend,” Fugh said in a statement.

ABC News first reported the living arrangement on Thursday. The condo is reportedly owned by a company that counts Vicki Hart as an owner. Hart is married to J. Steven Hart, an energy lobbyist who represents clients in industries regulated by the EPA.

Tags Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
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