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EXCLUSIVE: EPA boss Pruitt joined by family in condominium with lobby power couple



Scott Pruitt's adult daughter used a second room in the Capitol Hill condominium owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist, ABC News has learned despite the EPA's testimony that Pruitt paid for only one bedroom.

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McKenna Pruitt, who was a White House intern, lived during her internship in the two-bedroom apartment, following two sources familiar with living conditions. She worked as an office clerk at the White House office between May and August 201

7, according to her Linked In page. One source added that the two had use of the rest of the condo unit, including the kitchen and living space at a lower level. The upper bedrooms had no other paying residents, after a third person who was familiar with the living arrangements.

  PHOTO: A three-story brick maisonette, one block from the US Capitol, where EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is said to have stayed. The building is co-owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist, showing property records of 2017. ABC News
A three-story brick maisonette a block from the US Capitol, where EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt is said to have stayed. The building is co-owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist, ownership records of 2017.

When McKenna tried to reach McKenna Pruitt, a woman who identified herself as her mother said in Oklahoma last year. When asked where she lived during her internship at the White House, the woman said, "She has nothing to do with my husband's administration," and hung up.

Pruit's family presence in the condominium appears to be opposed by EPO late Thursday. Spokesman Jahan Wilcox told reporters Pruitt paid $ 50 a night to lease a single room in the three-story brick building. "During the transition to Washington, Administrator Pruitt signed a lease to rent a bedroom in a condominium, and he moved out at the end of July," he said.

ABC News reported for the first time that Pruitt had lived in the flat in his first six months in Washington in 2017. The apartment is in a prime location – less than a block from the US Capitol Complex – and other apartments in the duplex have been rented for as much as $ 5,000 a month, according to a source familiar with a neighboring lease.

The EPA allowed Bloomberg News to check copies of canceled checks that Pruitt paid to the condo owner. The news agency reported that the checks show different amounts paid on sporadic dates – not a traditional monthly "rental payment" of the same amount each month. All in all, Pruitt paid $ 6.100 over six months to the limited liability company for the Capitol Hill condominium owned by Vicki Hart, whose husband, J. Steven Hart, is the chairman of a top lobbying firm and is registered with several key environmental organizations energy problems.

"The lease was with Scott Pruitt," said Vicki Hart ABC News. "When other people used the bedroom or the living quarters, I was never told, and I never gave him permission to do that."

The EPA did not respond to requests for comment or clarification on life arrangements with Pruitt's daughter, which was described by two well-placed sources ABC News. McKenna Pruitt, now a law student, could not be reached by phone or e-mail.

Bloomberg reported that Pruitt's lease did not allow him access to the common areas of the unit. An ABC source told ABC News that Pruitt's daughter would often have her father breakfast and encourage him to eat healthily and put avocado in his eggs. The source, who worked at EPA last year, said Pruitt would often joke about coming to the office.

Wilcox released a statement on Friday by EPO Legal Advisor for Ethics, Justina Fugh, saying she had "not come to the conclusion that this was a banned gift, it was a routine business transaction and was also allowed by a personal friend . "Wilcox did not say when Fugh checked the matter or what prompted her to deal with it.

Bryson Morgan, a private practice who served as an investigator in the US House of Representatives' House of Representatives on Ethics at the Congress, said he thought it was raising red flags.

"I think it certainly creates a perceptual problem, especially if Mr. Hart is trying to influence the agency," Morgan said.

Gift rules prohibit executive executives from accepting valuables, Morgan said in an interview before the details were released by the EPA. These rules apply in addition to traditional gifts for favorable rental conditions.

"It's not just when he pays market rent," Morgan said. "A short-term lease is expensive, does it have the ability to end it every day, is this an arrangement that could put another person on the open market, and my assumption is that this situation does not include the characteristics of a particular market transaction?" he said in an interview conducted prior to the announcement of the controls.

The new revelation comes as Democrats in Congress demand that Pruitt reveal more details about his use of the 2017 Capitol Hill House.

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia, demanded Pruitt's resignation over his failure to disclose the rental agreement with an energy lobbyist.

"As he has done over and over again, he showed contempt for transparency, ethical guidelines and public interest," Beyer said. "Pruitt has to resign, and if he refuses, he should be fired immediately."

Hart is the chairman of the lobby firm Williams and Jensen, who lobbied on the EPA's policies such as the Clean Air Act, according to his website. The company also engaged in issues related to liquefied natural gas exports and represented Cheniere Energy Inc., which at the time had the only active liquefied natural gas export facility in the United States.

Pruitt traveled to Morocco last December, and the EPA said in a press release that liquefied natural gas exports a discussion topic during this trip.

Last year, Cheniere Energy Inc. announced that it had paid Harts company $ 80,000.

Hart's company was specifically committed to "LNG Export, LNG Export and Exports" issues. The company also praises its website for other EPA policies, such as the Clean Air Act.

The EPA did not respond to ABC News' questions about whether Harts lobby company had organized any meetings during the trip from Pruitt to Morocco.

Cheniere Energy spokeswoman Rachel Carmichel told ABC News that the company ended its relationship with Harts company in December 2017. The spokeswoman said Cheniere was unaware of the relationship between Pruitt and the lobbyist and did not use Harts company to hold talks with the EPA.

Another Hart & # 39; s lobbying firm, Norfolk Southern, issued $ 160,000 last year for lobbying by the Congress on "issues affecting coal consumption, oil production and transportation, including EPA regulation. "

Norfolk Southern also declined to comment when ABC News reached.

Craig Holman, an ethics specialist at Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group, wrote on Thursday to the EPA General Inspector to demand an investigation into the rental arrangements. If the lease was anything other than a commercial deal, he wrote, "It would at least be a violation of federal and executive law that prohibits gifts to covered officials from banned sources."

"As Administrator Pruitt is already involved in allegations of accepting travel gifts, the question arises as to whether a sense of entitlement has violated the gift rules of this lease," wrote Holman.

The Non-Profit Watchdog Group's leader, the Environmental Integrity Project, and former EPA Civil Defense Director Eric Shaffer, called on the EPA's General Inspector and Congress to address the issue.

"Is this the reason why Pruitt flew to Morocco to promote the export of natural gas, which is not really a concern of the EPA?", Wrote Schaeffer in a statement.

The office of the EPO Inspector General is familiar with the report, according to spokesman Jeff Lagda.

The Inspector General of the Agency is already considering the cost of Pruit's trip and whether the agency has followed all due process.


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