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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

REP LIEU STATEMENT ON EPA BACKTRACKING ON PRUITT CONDO ETHICS MEMO

April 5, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after the EPA issued a revised memo on Administrator Scott Pruitt's condominium lease. Earlier this week, Reps. Lieu and Beyer sent a letter to the EPA Inspector General urging him to investigate allegations that Administrator Pruitt rented the apartment for below market value.

 

"The revised EPA ethics memo and disclosure of the actual lease terms confirm that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt received an impermissible gift far in excess of federal limits from lobbyists Vicki and Steven Hart. The new ethics memo—which backtracks from the first memo—confirms that average market rate leases were $2,173/month for one-bedroom units and $3,695/per month for two-bedroom units in a comparable geographic location. Administrator Pruitt and his daughter had on-demand access to the bedrooms but only paid a low $50 daily rate, which even if they stayed every day would have been only $1500/month, which is significantly below market rates.

 

But Administrator Pruitt did not even pay $1,500/month, he paid far less: approximately $6,100 over a six-month period, which comes out to only a little over $1,000/month.  That means Pruitt received a personal benefit from the two lobbyists of approximately $7,000 to over $15,000 during the six month period based on the below market rate lease. 

 

Moreover, the lease as written provided Administrator Pruitt with quiet enjoyment such that he “shall and may peacefully and quietly have, hold and enjoy said Premises for the term hereof.” The lease also allowed Pruitt to “store possessions on the premises.”  That means the lobbyists could not rent the premises to another person during the term and, in fact, they did not.

 

The EPA ethics official makes clear that he did not have all the facts and that his two memos are not based on what actually transpired. We know that what actually transpired was that Administrator Pruitt paid far below market rates based on a sweetheart deal with lobbyists that no ordinary citizen could have received.   

 

If I were Scott Pruitt I would be regularly refreshing the President's Twitter feed for any updates on my employment status."

 

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