EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt listens as President Trump speaks during a meeting with members of the National Governors Association at the White House in February. (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)
Scott Pruitt's unusual housing arrangement during the past year – when he paid a lobbyist a modest sum every night to live in a Capitol Hill condominium – has a new round of reviewing financial decisions Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
Pruitt paid $ 50 for each night he physically spent in the condominium, just a stone's throw from the Capitol and owned by health care lobbyist Vicki Hart. According to the persons familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak openly, Pruitt first turned to her husband, attorney J. Steven Hart, during his confirmation process in 2017 and then extended the terms of the agreement until latest
Overall, Pruitt paid $ 6,100 to stay in the apartment for about six months, according to EPA officials. Details of the arrangement were originally reported by ABC News and Bloomberg. The former also reported that Pruitt's daughter had stayed in the condominium.
Hart is the Chairman and Chief Executive of the law firm Williams & Jensen and is active in the energy, transportation, commerce, tax and entertainment industries. In an interview on Friday, Hart said he had "no lobby contact with the EPA in 2017 or 2018" and that his company rectified a federal lobbying report that identified him as an institution with an interest in EPA regulation
In a separate e-mail message, Hart described the lease as a "market-based, short-term lease for a condominium owned by my wife … I'm an Oklahoman." Pruitt is a casual friend, but I have not had one for many months Contact more to him, except for a brief passing at the National Prayer Breakfast 2018.
Vicki Hart said in a statement on Friday afternoon that she was unaware of this. Pruitt's daughter lives in one of the apartment's rooms. "The lease was with Scott Pruitt. When other people used the bedroom or living quarters, I was never told, and I never gave him permission to do so, "she said, adding that if the ABC account is correct, Pruitt owes extra rent.  While the apartment lacked some of the conveniences of traditional rental, such as a fully equipped kitchen or telephone, $ 50 a night is a very good deal for a prime location near the Capitol. "According to the Inside Airbnb website, the dates of rentals On the accommodation side, the average price of a private room in a dorm is $ 113 per night, while in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where Pruitt lived, the average is $ 142 a night.
During this time, Pruitt repeatedly shuttled Cost of Taxpayers to Tulsa Between March and May 2017, an analysis of federal records by the Environmental Integrity Project showed that Prui In total, 48 of 92 days had been traveled and 43 of those travel days had been spent in Oklahoma or on the way to or from his home state.  "During his transition to Washington, Administrator Pruitt signed a lease to rent a bedroom in a condominium and he moved out in late July," said EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox in a statement.
J. Steven Hart represents several companies and organizations, including Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. and the American Automotive Policy Council. Cheniere is also one of the few LNG exporters in the United States. Last December, Pruitt visited part of his visit to Morocco to promote US natural gas exports.
Hart is a personal friend and former colleague of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hart, a former lawyer of Williams & Jensen, who was in front of his successor Pruitt. The company represents Oklahoma Gas & Electric and, according to EIP, received $ 400,000 for its work last year. The company is committed to reducing Barack Obama's EPA rules, which limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
Hart said he does not work on the Oklahoma Gas & Electric account and has had two meetings with Pruitt since then. He joined Trump's cabinet, "I was unaware of them," he said.
Environmentalists are urging the EPO Inspector General to investigate his previous life in Washington.
"Scott Pruitt sees no ethical problem in getting favored or favored for the interests of industry, which helped him fund his political career, and now lobbies for him to take back public health measures." Environmental Protection Fund Vice President Jeremy Symons said in a statement on Friday. "We are urging the EPO Inspector General, who has already investigated Mr Pruitt in three other cases, to investigate lobbyist gifts to Administrator Scott Pruitt in the form of deeply discounted housing."
Since last summer Pruitts housing costs have risen dramatically.
After leaving the Capitol Hill condominium of Vicki Hart in July, Pruitt moved into a one-bedroom apartment in a newly built, upscale complex in the U Street neighborhood, according to an official with knowledge of the move. One-bedroom units in the building run monthly between $ 3,000 and $ 3,500.
Several months later he moved back and signed another lease in a new luxury apartment complex on Capitol Hill. One-bedroom apartments in the building, owned by a large development company, start at about $ 3,100 a month and reach nearly $ 4,500.
All along, Pruitt has kept his main residence in Tulsa – a sprawling, 5,518-square-foot mansion in an upscale neighborhood. According to real estate data, the house is estimated at $ 1,180,000.
Oklahoma's public records and Pruitt's federal financial statements show that he and his wife bought the house in early 2012 and secured a $ 850,000 mortgage. At his current interest rate Pruitt would pay almost $ 5,500 on his mortgage and property taxes.
EPA officials have argued that Pruitt's first rental in Washington poses no conflict of interest. "I do not conclude that this is a banned gift, it was a routine business transaction and also allowed by a personal friend," said Justini Fugh, EPA Senior Counsel for Ethics, in a statement Friday.
The details of Pruitt's unusual ways of life are the latest in a series of revelations about his habits of consumption, which caused widespread criticism and alarm in the White House.
The Washington Post has documented Pruitt's extensive first-class travel at home and abroad during his first year. The EPO has attributed the increased costs to the security arrangements Pruitt has received since joining the Cabinet in February 2017, especially when compared to his immediate predecessors.
But records show that the administrator has scores of first-class flights and upscale hotel stays for taxpayers big bills. For example, a two-week trip in June by Pruitt and his staff will cost more than $ 120,000, according to records received by The Post and EIP under the Freedom of Information Act. Another edition of issues recently provided to a home supervisor committee has been earning at least another $ 68,000 in award travel expenses for August from August. These numbers do not include expenses for the personal security details and assistants that typically accompany him.
In addition, The Post has described in detail how Pruitt's office spent $ 43,000 last year on a private, sound-proof phone booth for the administrator's office – $ 25,000 custom-made and $ 18,000 more to prepare the room, including the casting of a second Foot thick concrete slab.
Julie Tate contributed to this report.
Scott Pruitt's Noise Control Phone Booth for $ 25,000? It actually costs more like $ 43,000.
First-class travel distinguishes Scott Pruitts EPA Tenure
New documents show nearly $ 68,000 in recent premium flights, hotel stays for EPA Pruitt