Scott Pruitt’s defenses of his lease with the wife of a lobbyist are crumbling

April 05, 2018

By Aaron Blake –

The two main defenses of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s questionable condo lease both suffered significant blows late Wednesday. And, making matters worse, President Trump doesn’t sound particularly committed to Pruitt.

Since his $50-per-night, vacation-style rental agreement with the wife of an energy lobbyist was publicized, Pruitt’s defenders have focused on two things:

  1. That an ethics official at the EPA supposedly signed off on the deal, and …
  2. That the lobbyist, Steven J. Hart, didn’t have business before the EPA and received no official actions in return. “Mr. Hart has no clients that had business before this agency,” Pruitt told Fox News on Wednesday.

Both of those have now been undermined.

That same ethics official has now issued a new memo making clear that his previous evaluation of Pruitt’s lease did not include all relevant information and wasn’t a complete approval. The new memo from Kevin Minoli notes that reports indicate Pruitt apparently had access to other parts of the house, rather than just the room he was renting. Pruitt reportedly had his daughter stay at the condo.

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

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