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Ethics Officials OK’d Bedroom Rental, EPA Chief Says

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt defended his living arrangement in Washington during the presidential transition, noting that career ethics officials at the EPA found no problems with his choice of where to sleep.

“This was an Airbnb-type situation where I rented literally one room that was used in a temporary status until I found more permanent residence.” @EPAScottPruitt says.

Media reports, Pruitt told The Daily Signal during an interview Tuesday, are incomplete and don’t reflect “the truth.”

“I think the information has been, as things go, I think very intermittent and very sporadic and not terribly complete with respect to what the truth is,” Pruitt said in the interview.

As Pruitt on Monday announced a rollback of Obama administration emission rules for vehicles in model years 2022 to 2025, multiple media reports focused on the EPA chief’s renting of a bedroom on Capitol Hill.

Pruitt paid $50 a night to the wife of J. Steven Hart, chairman and CEO of the Washington law firm of Williams & Jensen, whose clients include energy companies. He paid Vicki Hart only for the nights he slept in the room at the condo, according to news reports and critics.

“We had a memo and a statement from career ethics officials here that have actually reviewed the lease, that actually reviewed comps—comparables of similar units,” Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, told The Daily Signal.

“And I think what’s missed in this: I didn’t rent a unit,” Pruitt said. “I didn’t rent an apartment. This was an Airbnb-type situation where I rented literally one room that was used in a temporary status, until I found more permanent residence.”

This was during his early days in Washington after the president nominated him as EPA administrator, he said.

“My wife wasn’t here yet. My children were back in Oklahoma,” Pruitt said. “The needs were different. As soon as my wife came up, we moved to a different location where I couldn’t just be living out of a suitcase.”

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