California Rep. Ted Lieu wants President Donald Trump to fire EPA Chief Scott Pruitt after reports surfaced showing the former Oklahoma attorney general rented a room from energy lobbyists.
“You don’t need @EPAScottPruitt, who spent taxpayer dollars on 1st class travel, violated ethics laws & is deeply paranoid. You should fire him,” the Democrat wrote in a tweet Saturday to his followers. Lieu’s comment comes less than a day after reports from Bloomberg showed Pruitt paid $50 per night for a condo owned by an energy lobbyist’s wife.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Republicans who don’t believe in climate change & want to dismantle environmental protections are a dime a dozen. You don’t need @EPAScottPruitt, who spent taxpayer dollars on 1st class travel, violated ethics laws & is deeply paranoid. You should fire him. https://t.co/iS6JdWfmR2
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 31, 2018
Pruitt allegedly paid $6,100 for a room in a condo owned by Vicki Hart who is married to J. Steven Hart, an energy lobbyist who represents clients in industries regulated by the EPA. Payments to Hart came only on dates when the EPA administrator stayed in the room. Pruitt has come under intense scrutiny recently over his flight expenses.
Reports from The Washington Post, Politico, and others in February show taxpayers funded at least $90,000 for Pruitt and his top aides to fly in June, which included first-class seats and a ride on a military jet. The EPA maintains the flight upgrades were required due to an uptick in security threats Pruitt has faced during his first year in office.
An EPA spokesman said Pruitt rented the room while he was in the process of moving to Washington, D.C. “While transitioning to Washington, Administrator Pruitt signed a lease to rent a bedroom in a condo and he moved out at the end of July,” spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a press statement following the report.
Justina Fugh, the senior counsel for ethics at the EPA, said the living arrangement did not present an ethics issue. “I don’t conclude that this is a prohibited gift at all. It was a routine business transaction and permissible even if from a personal friend,” Fugh said in a statement.
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