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EPA Chief Pruitt Under Pressure over Condo Deal

by Countable | Updated on 4.2.18

What’s the story?

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt lived nearly rent-free in a condominium connected to a prominent fossil fuel lobbyist who deals with issues overseen by his agency.

Why does it matter?

  • Pruitt – already under fire for his lavish travel expenses – paid just $50 for an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington. This is less than a third of the market price of similar properties, and puts Pruitt in possible violation of federal ethics rules.

  • EPA ethics official Kevin Minoli pushed back against claims of impropriety, writing in a memo that the $50-a-night rate would total $1,500 for 30 nights a month, which he deemed to be a fair price.

  • "The lease authorized use by the administrator and his immediate family, specifically including his spouse and children, and consistent with that provision of the lease his immediate family did stay there when they were in Washington, D.C.," Minoli wrote. He added:

"The lease did not require payment when the property was not utilized. Neither of these two provisions render the rental cost under the lease as something other than market value."

  • Chris Christie, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, told ABC’s This Week: "I don’t know how you survive this one, and if he has to go, it’s because he never should have been there in the first place."

  • Pruitt is also accused of using his security detail for non-official business, including a family vacation to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl.

What do you think?

Should Pruitt be investigated for possible federal ethics rules violations? Is it appropriate to use taxpayer money to fund private security details for cabinet members? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

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(49)
  • Baron
    04/02/2018
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    Pruitt should be relieved of duty for all of his egregious actions while in office. Too many of his actions are unethical if not morally corrupt. He’s supposed to be a protector of the environment not the destroyer of it.

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  • Aaron
    04/02/2018
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    Pruitt is just one symptom of an ethically challenged administration. Throw them all out! The solution must be found at the next election.

    Like (16)
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  • Don
    04/02/2018
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    Are there any appointees not on the take?

    Like (13)
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  • Johnna
    04/02/2018
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    I don’t always agree with Chris Christie, but he should never have been put into this position. He has proven this many times over and this is just another of the many reasons. He is influenced on all sides and cannot possibly see straight as to what is right for the American people.

    Like (9)
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  • John
    04/02/2018
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    Pruitt should be fired immediately and made to pay fines amounting to the graft he accepted. He is, and always has been, a pandering moron without a shred of morality.

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  • Chickie
    04/02/2018
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    That Pruitt paid $50 for a ‘room’ at a DC townhouse a few blocks from his office that should have been at least $6K, is dishonest. However, what is an incredible unethical issue, is from whom Pruitt rented the property. The property owner is Vicki Hart, a healthcare lobbyist. She is married to J. Steven Hart, who is a lobbyist for several industries including Oklahoma Gas & Electric, liquefied natural gas exporter, Cheniere Energy, the Automotive Policy Council, to just name a few. Our representatives should not be allowed to rent from lobbyists or those with whom there is a conflict of interest ~ period! Pruitt must repay the taxpayers for his self-important spending. Pruitt has hung a neon lit ‘For Sale’ sign on his office door at the EPA and it must be unplugged immediately!

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  • Vanessa
    04/02/2018
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    Even republicans can’t defend this clown...

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  • Stacy
    04/02/2018
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    Above all else our official have to be trust worthy. We the people have entrusted in you the elected, to select and approve people to cabinet of high ethical standards, they are after all representatives of our government and by proxy the US. If these allegations of grave unethical behaviors are found to be true, this must be of importance to every government official, for its not just his reputation that is harmed, it is every upstanding hard working, ethical American reputation on the line.

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  • Marylynn
    04/03/2018
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    It's time to get rid of all the cabinet members that have used taxpayer dollars for personal trips, etc. Pruitt, Carson, Mnuchin, just to name a few.

    Like (7)
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  • Karen
    04/02/2018
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    Another example of just how corrupt this Administration is. Trump put the absolutely worst individual into every cabinet position. It’s not surprising that they are easily corrupted. After all, “contributions” to the GOP got them their chosen Cabinet positions in the first place.

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  • NoHedges
    04/03/2018
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    About time, now recoup the 18 Billion in oil subsidies to all those companies that are doing far better than the average American family, pay for Obama's presidential portrait and get DeVos out of office.

    Like (6)
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  • Dara
    04/02/2018
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    This is a deplorable EPA director. He is the poster boy for SWAMP and CRONYISM. Fire him, send him back to the SWAMP he came from, Oklahoma. He has been a puppet of the oil and gas industry for decades in that state.

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  • Dennis
    04/03/2018
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    This behavior is outrageous. Can you imagine the outcry from Republicans if it occurred under the Obama administration. Pruitt has lost his moral compass—if he ever had one—and needs to go. Such blatant ethical failures should not be tolerated anywhere in government, especially at the highest level.

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  • Dan
    04/02/2018
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    Pruitt, another Trump looser needs to be removed. What shame to the American people.

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  • Jill
    04/03/2018
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    Pruitt like Trump thinks the big oil guys will help them out if they help them. My guess is...NOT! He needs to be investigated and removed from office. He’s only there for the free ride and “prestige” of office. He is no public servant. In fact quite the opposite.

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  • Christine
    04/02/2018
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    Pruitt is a disgrace and should resign.

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  • JayinNC
    04/02/2018
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    If he is a trump appointment he can’t be trusted with our environment

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  • Lori
    04/02/2018
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    Scott Pruitt needs to be removed from this position, immediately. You should only confirm someone that is fair, honest, and believes in science and facts. This person should care more about safety and our country, and not party. Pruitt is under the control of lobbyists.

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  • William
    04/03/2018
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    Pruitt is a blatant crock and corrupt member of a corrupt administration under a fascist dictator - can ‘t get mush worse ; or can it?? IMPEACHMENT OR AMENDMENT 25, SECTION 4 !!!!

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  • John
    04/02/2018
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    Another MORON...

    Like (2)
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