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.
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.