An ethics mess is dragging down Scott Pruitt. Will John Bolton be next? - 2018-04-05
If Friday afternoons are the best time to shove off embattled advisers, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt might want to start clearing out his desk today. A new complication has arisen in his corner of Trumpland's ethical swamp. The Post reports:
Kevin Minoli, EPA's designated agency ethics official and principal deputy general counsel, had written in a March 30 memo that Pruitt's lease of a room in a Capitol Hill condo co-owned by health-care lobbyist Vicki Hart — for $50 a night, charged only when he stayed there — did not constitute a gift because that rate for 30 consecutive days would have equated to a monthly rent of $1,500. Minoli described that as "a reasonable market value." But in a new memo, which was obtained by the Campaign Legal Center and first reported by CNN, Minoli emphasized that he only evaluated the terms of the lease and not activities the document did not cover. The lease, for example, provided for the use of a single room. "All other space is controlled by the landlord," it stated. But several EPA officials have confirmed that Pruitt's adult daughter stayed in the condo apartment's second bedroom for a period when she was working at the White House last year.
Whether Minoli is the most incompetent ethics examiner on the planet (to have rendered a decision without all the facts) or is walking back from an embarrassing attempt to whitewash a growing scandal remains unclear. However, once again, those who jumped to defend the indefensible in this administration have been hung out to dry. The clock is ticking down on Pruitt's tenure.