Ethics lawyer said information withheld in opinion on Scott Pruitt

The Associated Press - April 5, 2018 10:02 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — An Environmental Protection Agency lawyer says he wasn’t provided the full facts when he ruled there was no ethics violation in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s lease of a bargain-priced condo.

EPA ethics lawyer Kevin Minoli issued an opinion last week saying Pruitt was paying fair-market value. In a letter dated Wednesday, Minoli says that was based on the assumption that Pruitt occupied only one bedroom for $50 a night, as outlined in the lease.

Media reports later disclosed that Pruitt’s college-aged daughter occupied a second bedroom while she interned at the White House last summer. Minoli said he did not consider the value of a second room in his analysis.

Pruitt paid about $1,000 a month, less than a third of what other nearby two-bedroom homes list for.

In a marked change in tone, the White House says President Donald Trump is not OK with recent revelations involving the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

For his part, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is denying he knew about big raises given to two of his closest aides and insisting he did nothing wrong in renting a bargain-priced condo tied to an energy lobbyist.

Pruitt spoke in a series of interviews with Fox News and other conservative media outlets in an attempt to shore up his eroding position in an administration that has seen other top officials depart after ethical missteps.

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Trump was OK with Pruitt’s actions, Sanders replied: “The president’s not.”

 

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