Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has had no shortage of ethics scandals in his time in office.
Last year, he spent $168,000 on charter, military, and first class flights (despite EPA guidelines saying he should travel coach), and $43,000 on a sound-proof phone booth in his office. Now, it’s been revealed that, while staying in Washington, DC, Pruitt has been renting a room near Capitol Hill for $50 per night in a condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist who does work for clients in industries regulated by the EPA.
A Bloomberg source described it as an “AirBnB-style arrangement,” and the EPA’s ethics counsel has said Pruitt paid “a fair price for what amounts to just a room.” However, a review of AirBnB options near Capitol Hill shows that there are no rooms available for $50 per night. A search for $75 per night or less offers up only seven options, two of which are spartan single bedrooms (there are also the enticing “gold room” and “burgundy room”). Most of these are further than “just blocks from the Capitol,” as Bloomberg describes the location of Pruitt’s rental.
The EPA and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether Pruitt was paying below market rate.