The White House does not wash Scott Pruitt's hands, even though the slow drop in harmful headlines continues on the EPO boss.
A senior government official told POLITICO on Friday that the White House is still behind the environmental protection agency chief despite news that he spent months a room last year in an apartment associated with an energy lobbyist – paying just $ 50 each Night to live a block from the Capitol. The news followed months of negative headlines about Pruitt's world-class travel, security costs and political ambitions, which are among Washington's worst-kept open secrets.
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Pruitt's daughter McKenna also lived in a second room in the Condor when she was an intern at the White House, ABC News reported on Friday, raising further questions about whether the lease would be more immoral Please.
But Pruitt was also one of the most effective members of President Donald Trump's reign ̵
And unlike other members of the Cabinet who have been trumpeted by Trump, such as the ousted veteran Secretary of State David Shulkin and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Pruitt has not obstructed the president's conservative agenda or actively criticized his leadership. Instead, he praises Trump on Fox News and elsewhere every chance he gets.
"I confess that the look is not ideal and it probably does not show the best judgment," said senior government official of Pruitts earlier life form. "But Scott Pruitt will always get a closer scrutiny because he's so focused on the Trump agenda."
Pruit's full-backs notice that he's different from the other members of the Cabinet who got the boot.
"What Pruitt means to him, that Shulkin and a few others are not him is key to achieving Trump's agenda, and so far he's doing a great job," said Myron Ebell, the energy director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Head of Trump's EPO Transition Team.
Of course, so The decisions are ultimately with Trump, who is known to change his feelings about his staff rapidly, even after he publicly supported them.
Some observers held their breath after the Democrats released audio in January 2016 when Pruitt worked for Jeb Bush's campaign. in which Pruitt said that Trump "would abuse the constitution" as Barack Obama. But it is not clear that Trump has ever heard of the comments, and Pruitt quickly issued a statement that praised Trump as the most consistent leader of our time. "
Pruitt also reiterates the reports of his luxury travel expenses and other controversies and told a radio station in St. Louis last week that he was" a little speechless about the kind of media coverage. "Fox News recently reported EPA information on travel spending by Pruitt's Democratic predecessors.
The harmful leaks occurred at the same time that Pruitt told his friends and acquaintances that he was interested in replacing someone else's strong-willed Cabinet member, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should have Trump's request for change.
Nonetheless, anti-Pruitt activists are feeling a possible turning point with the latest revelations about Pruit's $ 50 a night lease in a condominium owned by health lobbyist Vicki Hart, wife of J Steven Hart, an energy lobbyist who also served as Trump's transition minister for the Transition team, said he was a "random friend" of Pruitt's campaign for Attorney General, spending $ 1,750 between 2010 and 2012.
ABC News, which debuted on Thursday for the first time Pruit's daughter had lived with him temporarily in another room of the apartment and Pruit's 24/7 security detail had to break into the building when he feared the steward might have been unconscious. Hart pointed out that his relationship with Pruitt was unfavorable.
"I'm an Oklahoman, Pruitt's a random friend, but I have not had any contact with him for many months, except for a brief passing of 2018," Hart said Thursday. He added, "I have no ownership interest in the property despite any suggestions to the contrary in the ABC News report." Pruitt paid all rent as agreed in the lease. "
Justina Fugh, a job ethics officer at the EPA, told POLITICO that the agreement did not violate any gift or lobbying laws because of a previous friendship between Pruitt and Hart that would fall for transactions with friends with one exception. She also cited Pruitt's boarding allowances, which Fugh considered appropriate
"Just because a person has given money in the past does not mean that this relationship is spoiled in the future," she said Friday morning.
Asked if she had asked about Pruitt's life now, Fugh laughed.
"I do not go around and see where people live or how they live," she said. "I'm not even curious to know, I'm really baffled, you would even say that … That's just not what we do."
The EPA published a memo on Friday evening by Kevin Minoli, a career official who acts as EPA's highest ethics expert and clears Pruit's right to ethical concerns.
Minoli wrote that the lease was a "fair market value" and said that it allowed Pruitts near family to stay there, which they did on indefinite occasions.
Vicki Hart told ABC on Friday that the agreement was only with the steward other people used the bedroom or the living quarters, I was never told, and I never gave him permission to do that, "she said.  Outside, watchdogs care much more about Pruitt's use of the lobby lobby. "19659002]" This was not Airbnb. This was not listed on Airbnb. She and I could not have stayed there, "said Craig Holman, a government lobbyist." It was reserved specifically for Pruitt – about half of my rent is for a rental, and I suppose a co a much more pleasant place than mine. "
The public citizen formally called on the EPO Inspector General on Thursday evening to review the matter.
The EPA's IG, which had warned the White House last year that its current budget would limit the number of investigations into Pruitt's travels will be tested in 2017 as well as the installation of an expensive, secure telephone booth in his office office. "A spokesman for the IG office said it was aware of Pruitt's way of life, but declined to comment further. 19659002] The lease agreement also caught the attention of local authorities The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs of the District of Columbia said on Twitter that they would "investigate" whether the condo owners were for Such night-night operations were licensed.
Pruitt eventually spent $ 6,100 on these accommodations, according to Bloomberg, who dashed the Pruitts checks by EPA.
Earlier this week, environmentalists Pruitt declared an open war and launched a #BootPruitt campaign to fire him. The campaign is aimed at both the President and Pruit's home state of Oklahoma, where he is expected to replace Republican Senator Jim Inhofe in 2020, who will turn 85 on election day in 2020.
"It is clear that Pruitt is unfit and in need of public office," wrote John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, in a Washington Post.
That was before the allegations about avocado omelette breakfast cooked by his daughter in an apartment where she rented rooms from the wife of an energy lobbyist. The rhetoric of his critics has only grown since.
"It looks like Scott Pruitt has been benefiting all day major energy companies and then been hired by a lobbyist with a nice real estate offer," said Jeremy Symons of Environmental Defense Fund. "This is the kind of behavior that President Trump promised to fight – personal advantages of lobbyists and taxpayers." Scott Pruitt shows how outrageous a lie has become.
And on Friday, MP Don Beyer (D-Va .) Pruitt's resignation on
Such left-wing attacks only strengthen Pruitt's credibility Major Oklahoma voters said Oklahoma GOP political strategist Pat McFerron.
"Every time he is attacked by the Washington Post or the New York Times, that helps him in a Republican primary in Oklahoma, "he said.
The apartment is not the first time that Pruitt sees his official business as an administrator collapse with politically linked individuals.
For example, last spring Pruitt met Republican mega-president Sheldon Adelson calls on leaders of an Israeli company to sign a research partnership with the company about their water production technology.
Pruitt also teamed up with Steven Chancellor, a coal manager who is also a well-connected Indiana Republican and powerhouse GOP fundraiser, last year.
Meanwhile, Pruitt had a criss-crossing tour of the nation last year – mostly to Trump-winning states. His diary reflects on the appearance of the Federalist Society, an influential group of conservative legal and judicial officials, as well as groups that traditionally have little to do with environmental policy, such as the Family Research Council. The meeting with these groups helps strengthen Pruts conservative profile and links it with activists who could support a future campaign.
Nancy Cook contributed to this report.