The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog will probe Administrator Scott Pruitt’s unorthodox rental of a Capitol Hill condominium from a lobbyist, marking at least the 10th federal investigation of the agency’s chief.
EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. confirmed the probe in letters to Democratic Reps. Don Beyer and Ted Lieu, who had requested the inquiry.
For roughly six months last year, Pruitt rented a bedroom from a lobbyist whose husband, J. Steven Hart, had clients with matters pending before the agency. Hart, also a lobbyist, was present at a meeting with Pruitt at least once in 2017.
Pruitt was allowed to pay $50 per day to lease the space, but only on the nights he stayed there.
Previously, the EPA’s top ethics officer said the lease itself didn’t violate federal ethics regulations, barring certain gifts. But he didn’t examine whether the arrangement with a lobbyist violated other ethics rules, nor whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the lease agreement.
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