Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt came under fire this week after ABC News revealed that, for much of his first year in Washington, he lived in a house co-owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist.
Initially, the EPA would not comment on how much money Pruitt paid to stay at the Capitol Hill townhouse, which is owned by Vicki Hart, a lobbyist and the wife of energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart. But on Friday, ABC reported that Pruitt paid $6,100 over the course of six months to the limited liability company that owns the condo:
While Bloomberg reported Pruitt’s lease did not allow him access to common areas in the unit, a source familiar with the arrangement told ABC News that Pruitt’s daughter would often make her father breakfast, encouraging him to eat healthily and would slip avocado into his eggs. The source, who worked at EPA last year, said Pruitt would often joke about it when he came into the office.
Wilcox released a statement from EPA Senior Counsel for Ethics Justina Fugh Friday, saying she did not “conclude that this is a prohibited gift at all. It was a routine business transaction and permissible even if from a personal friend.” Wilcox did not say when Fugh reviewed the matter or what led her to look into it.
Wow! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Washington is the fifth-most expensive city in the country for renters. Apartments in the building where Pruitt was living—which is located one block from the U.S. Capitol—go for as much as $5,000 per month, according to ABC. Paying $6,100 for six months—or roughly $1,016.67 per month—is a steal. What nice friends Scott has!
As the Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan Fischer pointed out on Twitter, there’s no way to know what gifts the Harts may have given Pruitt in the course of his stay at the townhouse:
The New York Times estimates Pruitt’s personal wealth between $210,000 and $551,000. According to public records, Pruitt’s predecessor at the EPA, Gina McCarthy, made a base salary of $179,700 in 2016.
Do you live in a city? Do you pay more in rent than Scott Pruitt does—which is to say, more than $1,016.67 per month? Sound off in the comments!