Market Rates? Pruitt Received a Big Discount On His Lobbyist Condo

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

ABC News broke the news yesterday that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has been living in a townhouse that is owned by lobbyists including lobbyists for the health care and fossil fuel industries.

Obviously, that raises a number of ethical concerns even if Pruitt were paying a market rate to live there, but he wasn't paying a market rate or anything even close to it.

From Bloomberg:

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s lease at a Washington apartment owned by a lobbyist friend allowed him to pay $50 a night for a single bedroom -- but only on the nights when he actually slept there. [...]

One person familiar with the lease compared it to an Airbnb-style arrangement, but Pruitt wasn’t a transient and instead made the apartment his home on nights he was in Washington. The lease -- reviewed by Bloomberg -- says that he was charged $50 a night "based on days of actual occupancy."

A quick search tells me even a room at a Motel 6 in the Washington D.C. area runs in the neighborhood of $80 per night. Pruitt was obviously receiving an astronomical discount to stay in a private condo for $50. And we're not talking about a dump here.

Bloomberg reports that White House staffers were alarmed by Pruitt's behavior. Ordinarily I would dismiss the notion that the White House gives two shits, but they also report that the EPA did not even have a record of or receipts for Pruitt's rent. The EPA apparently had to contact the owners of the townhouse to verify that Pruitt was actually paying them.

Call me crazy but it looks like Pruitt was trying to hide it.

  • muselet

    If the EPA has no record of or receipts for payment, I think it’s safe to assume there was no payment (Sunny Day beat me by only … oh, let’s see … seven hours). Which I believe violates numerous laws and regulations concerning ethical behavior of government officials.

    In normal times, this would be the time the official in question resigns to *ahem* spend more time with his family and quietly pay a hefty fine. Now, in the Time of Trump, Scott Pruitt has the job of EPA administrator until Donald Trump sees some equally unqualified person on Fox News with better hair.

    This is not normal.


  • Aynwrong

    So this is the governance that Rosanne (Connor) Barr thinks is going to MAGA because the Orange Saviour “talked about jobs” huh?


  • He wasn’t paying a thing. $50 was some rando number made up on the spot.

  • gescove

    I’ll rework the words of Joseph Welch during the McCarthy hearings here. “To the Republicans in power, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Little did I dream you could do such grievous injury to our citizens, our institutions, our democracy. Have you no sense of decency, Republicans? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    • muselet

      I’m old enough to remember (barely) Barry Goldwater in his pomp. In my considered opinion, the Rs never had any sense of decency.


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  • Username1016

    So what’s with “nights he actually stayed there”? Isn’t he living in Washington in order to do his job at the EPA? So isn’t he there EVERY night, except for occasional weekends and stuff? Is he neglecting his duties????

    30 nights a month would be $1500, which ain’t exactly nothing, but it does seem way low for the kind of place a guy a guy like Pruitt would stay…

    • ninjaf

      He’s not there when he is charging the taxpayers for those first class airfares to wherever.

    • In DC, a townhome/condo like that would cost A LOT especially depending on location.