After his wife rented a Washington, D.C. condo to Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt for $50 a night, a Canadian oil lobbyist had his pipeline project approved by the department.
The New York Times reported Monday that the firm led by J. Stephen Hart, whose wife Vicki rented the condo to Pruitt, successfully lobbied the EPA to approve the Alberta Clipper pipeline in March 2017. The approval came despite Enbridge Inc. — a Calgary-based company that Hart's firm Williams & Jensen lobbied for — being fined $61 million by the agency towards the end of Barack Obama's presidency.
A spokesperson for Williams & Jensen told the Times that they did not interfere with the EPA or Pruitt before or after the administrator's stay in the Hart condo. The company also said "it had not worked on similar regulatory issues for Enbridge in the past year, even though it was registered at the time as lobbying for the company on 'issues affecting pipelines and construction of new pipelines,'" the report noted.
Shortly after the Times broke the story about the Alberta Clipper pipeline, Politico reported that White House chief of staff John Kelly has considered firing Pruitt — once considered to be a replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions — over this latest scandal.
The Daily Beast also reported Monday night that the owners of the townhome Pruitt rented hosted GOP fundraisers when he was living there.