The White House is investigating Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for misconduct associated with a $50-a-night bedroom in Washington, D.C., he rented from an energy lobbyist’s spouse, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The EPA has been fielding questions related to the apartment and allegations it was rented for below-market rates since ABC News broke the story March 30.
Pruitt stayed in the apartment for his first six months in office before moving to another location.
EPA ethics officials cleared the apartment deal, although the White House is not satisfied with the terms set and wants to “dig a little deeper,” a White House official told The Journal.
Pruitt rented his bedroom from the wife of top energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart, who chairs lobbying firm Williams & Jensen.
Pruitt was still renting from the Harts in March 2017, while the EPA approved a Canadian energy company’s pipeline-expansion plan.
That Canadian company partners with Williams & Jensen to represent its interests in Washington, D.C., The New York Times reported.
The EPA holds the approved deal and Pruitt’s rented bedroom have nothing to do with each other.
“Any attempt to draw that link is patently false,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told The Times in a written statement.
The pipeline, an addition to the Alberta Clipper line, needed the EPA’s guarantee the project was environmentally sound.
The EPA sent that guarantee to the State Department in March of last year, moving the project forward.
The pipeline would move thousands of barrels of oil every day from Canada’s tar sands to the U.S., according to The Times.
Hart’s lobbying firm denies playing any part in the negotiations between the Canadian company and the EPA before or after Pruitt left Hart’s apartment.
Whether or not the that is true, the appearance of possible favoritism between the EPA and Williams & Jensen is not good, Cynthia Giles, who served as an EPA enforcement official in the 1990s, told The Times.
Alberta Clipper is one of roughly six other questionable decisions Pruitt made in connection with client of the Hart’s lobbying firm, The Times reported.
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
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