The District of Columbia issued a citation to lobbyist power couple Steven and Vicki Hart for renting a bedroom to an official in President Donald Trump’s cabinet in 2017 without proper licensing to do so.
News of the citation broke just hours before Politico reported Steven Hart denied allegations the deal involved kickbacks of any kind between himself as a top energy lobbyist and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who rented the bedroom.
DC government issues citation to owner of apartment Scott Pruitt rented because they did not have proper license to rent the unit. Possible fine of $2,034
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) April 5, 2018
Pruitt has been under increasing amounts of scrutiny the past week after news broke that he rented an apartment for $50 a night. An EPA ethics officer cleared the arrangement beforehand, but the White House has begun reviewing the deal to determine if Pruitt committed any ethical violations while the deal was in place.
Steven Hart, who serves as chairman to the lobbyist firm Williams & Jensen, takes the incident “very seriously” and William & Jensen maintains the “highest ethical standards of professional conduct,” he said.
“As I have stated previously, the condominium is not owned by Williams & Jensen, its partners, or any other employees of the firm; and any suggestion that Administrator Pruitt’s short-term rental of one of its bedrooms in 2017 resulted in undue influence for the firm or its clients with business before the EPA is simply false,” Mr. Hart told Politico.
“I am confident in these facts and certain that all fair and impartial assessments of the matter will conclude accordingly,” Hart added. “Finally, I apologize to my wife, Vicki, whose fantastic career is being maligned unnecessarily.”
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