EPA Ethics Official Argues Scott Pruitt's Condo Rental Wasn't Ethics Breach

Thursday, April 5th 2018, 3:39 am
By: News On 6

In a memo obtained by CBS News, the Environmental Protection Agency's Ethics Official and Deputy Counsel concluded that EPA Administrator's Scott Pruitt's housing arrangement did not breach any ethical violations or constitute a gift. 

The memo, signed by EPA Deputy Counsel Kevin Minoli, says that the EPA's investigation determined that "when checked against the price of traditional month-to-month rentals that would most likely offer increased privacy and exclusivity of use, a converted amount of $1,500 for Tenant's portion of the rent under the lease is within the range of amounts charged for locations no further than three blocks away." 

The EPA told CBS News in a statement that the April 4 memo provides the reasoning and documentation for Friday's memo from EPA career ethics officials, "who determined that the condo lease was lawful, based on market information for similar rentals on Capitol Hill."

"There is no connection between decisions Administrator Pruitt has made at EPA and any place he has lived. Any attempt to draw that link is false," The EPA said in a statement to CBS Wednesday night.

EPA ethics officials ruled that the rental agreement was in compliance with ethics regulations, though administration officials privately admit the deal was unusually favorable to the tenant.

CBS News first reported that the president spoke with Pruitt Monday night to offer his support, and that Chief of Staff John Kelly called Tuesday morning to reiterate the president's sentiments.