The Environmental Protection Agency signed off last March on a Canadian energy company’s pipeline-expansion plan at the same time that the E.P.A. chief, Scott Pruitt, was renting a condominium linked to the energy company’s powerful Washington lobbying firm.
Both the E.P.A. and the lobbying firm dispute that there was any connection between the agency’s action and the condo rental, for which Mr. Pruitt was paying $50 a night.
The lobbyist-owned townhouse that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rented for relatively small nightly sums also served as a hub for Republican lawmakers hoping to raise money for their congressional campaigns.
A review of fundraising invitations reveals that at least three members of Congress had fundraisers at the now-controversial Capital Hill brownstone during the same period of time that Pruitt was living there. Several of those fundraisers took place on dates when Pruitt was in Washington D.C., according to a cross reference of the invitations and Pruitt’s schedule.
The EPA said that Pruitt wasn’t invited to and didn’t attend any of the events. And even if he were to have attended, ethics laws do not prohibit a cabinet secretary from going to a political event in his or her personal time.
While Pruitt wasn’t in town for all of the events, the cross-pollination of Pruitt’s lobbyist-owned accommodations and the apparently common fundraising activity raises another round of questions over how the EPA chief conducted himself upon arriving in Washington.
OK, but until I see someone asking for passports and not getting them I don’t see the scandal.