Bloomberg Politics: A Condo Deal Like Pruitt’s Would Get Other EPA Staff in Trouble
Whether or not Scott Pruitt keeps his job as administrator is up to President Donald Trump, who has been supportive of his EPA administrator. But experts in government ethics, along with the union that represents EPA staff, say any other EPA employee would likely face some kind of punishment.
Pruitt leased a room last year from the wife of a lobbyist whose firm represents clients with business before the EPA. Pruitt paid $50 a night, but only for days he used the condo, and was permitted to let members of his family use the condo too. The agency’s ethics chief says the rent was fair, while leaving open the possibility that Pruitt violated rules requiring him to remain impartial.
"I do think there is an illegal gift issue here," said Larry Noble, former president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and now general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington advocacy group.
Noble said that if an EPA employee were involved in a matter affecting the same person who was subsidizing that employee’s rent, that employee "should be subject to discipline." What type of discipline, Noble added, "would depend on the facts."