Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt was late on some of the payments for the $50-a-night condo he was renting from the wife of a top lobbyist, Politico reported on Thursday.
According to two sources familiar with the arrangement who spoke to the news outlet, Pruitt was late in making payments for the room he was renting from Vicki Hart, who is wife to a top energy lobbyist, prompting complaints from Hart.
Politico reported that Pruitt eventually made a payment of $1,700 on Sept. 1, his final payment for previously owed rent.
The agreement between Pruitt and Hart has prompted questions from Democrats and some Republicans over whether the deal constituted an improper gift from Hart’s husband, who represents clients affected by Pruitt’s regulatory oversight.
The EPA chief’s future in the Trump administration has been thrown into question recently after a series of damaging news stories, including a report from The New York Times earlier Thursday that at least five EPA officials were demoted or reassigned after raising questions about Pruitt’s spending habits or management.
Samantha Dravis, the senior counsel and associate administrator in EPA’s Office of Policy and a top ally of Pruitt, resigned Thursday amid the mounting scandals in a move described by one agency insider as a “five-alarm story.”
President Trump on Thursday reiterated that he still believes in Pruitt’s ability to lead the EPA.
“I do, I do,” Trump said, when asked if he had confidence in the EPA chief. “I think he’s a fantastic person. I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt, and they love Scott Pruitt.”