Disclosure of Scott Pruitt’s Sweetheart Deal for Lobbyist’s Condo is Latest Ethics Scandal

Pruitt paid below-market rate for a room in a condo co-owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist

April 2, 2018
Keith Gaby, (202) 572-3336, kgaby@edf.org


ABC News, Bloomberg News and other outlets have revealed that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt used a condominium owned in part by a health care lobbyist, whose husband’s lobbying firm and its oil and gas clients have contributed heavily to Pruitt’s political campaign in Oklahoma – when he ran unopposed.

The companies include Oklahoma Gas & Electric which has been pushing for rollbacks of air emission regulations and the Clean Power Plan, and the American Automotive Policy Council whose auto companies have urged Pruitt to end the Clean Car Standard – which Pruitt has signaled he plans to rollback this month, along with Cheniere the only US exporter of natural gas, which benefitted from Pruitt’s highly unusual trip to Morocco to push their product.

Statement from Jeremy Symons, Environmental Defense Fund, Vice President, Political Affairs:

"Scott Pruitt sees no ethical problem getting favors from or doing favors for the industry interests who have helped bankroll his political career and are now lobbying him to rollback public health safeguards.”

“We call on the EPA’s Inspector General, who is already investigating Mr. Pruitt in three other cases, to immediately launch an investigation into gifts from lobbyists to Administrator Scott Pruitt in the form of deeply discounted living quarters.

“This was a highly questionable real estate arrangement in which Pruitt was given use of the condo for $50 per night – a stunningly low rate for a condo in an expensive neighborhood just blocks from the Capitol.

"In addition, he only had to pay for the nights he actually spent there, but the owners appear to have kept his room for him while he traveled, not renting it out to others.

“More broadly, this new information raises the question of why President Trump continues to tolerate the distractions and embarrassment that Scott Pruitt’s ethical lapses bring to the Administration. He has already been summoned to the White House once for remedial ethics schooling. How much more of this is the White House willing to endure?

“It looks like Scott Pruitt worked all day to benefit major energy companies, then went to be bed courtesy of a sweetheart real estate deal from lobbyists. This is the kind of behavior – grabbing personal benefits from lobbyists and taxpayers – that President Trump promised to fight. Scott Pruitt is demonstrating just how brazen a lie that has become.”

This news adds to Mr. Pruitt’s long list of ethical transgressions and re-enforces his close alliance with industries he is responsible for overseeing.

Pruitt is being investigated for questionable use of taxpayer dollars - flying first class, chartering private and military aircraft and ordering a $40K secure telephone.

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