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House Oversight Committee reviewing Scott Pruitt condo agreement

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has requested and received documents related to Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's renting of a condo room connected to a Washington lobbyist, CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett has confirmed. 

The committee, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, has received records that include internal memos written by Kevin Minoli, the EPA's ethics official, dated March 30 and April 4. The EPA has insisted that Pruitt's renting of a room in a condo for $50 a night, only on the nights he was present, did not breach any ethical violations or constitute a gift.

The condo Pruitt lived in for five and a half months last year is owned by Vicki Hart, the wife of Steven Hart, who works for a lobbying firm and has had some business related to the EPA, according to Senate lobbying disclosures reviewed by CBS News. The White House is also looking into Pruitt's actions.

Mr. Trump thus far has publicly praised Pruitt.

"I think he's done a fantastic job," Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One during his trip back from West Virginia earlier this week. "I think he's done an incredible job. He's been very courageous. It hasn't been easy, but I think he's done a fantastic job."

But the condo situation isn't the only reason Pruitt is under fire. Pruitt, as CBS News' Julianna Goldman has reported, wanted to use lights and sirens to cut through traffic shortly after he became EPA administrator. The lead security agent who said such measures are only for emergencies had a new job within two weeks. 

Pruitt has also faced questions over hefty raises — of $28,000 and $56,000 — reportedly given to two top aides. Pruitt, who struggled to answer basic questions about the situation in an interview with Fox News' Ed Henry earlier this week, claimed he had not known about the raises and had them reversed immediately. 

On Thursday, The New York Times also reported that at least five EPA officials who voiced concerns about Pruitt's actions were demoted, removed, reassigned, put on leave or asked for new jobs.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Pruitt's security detail has cost taxpayers $3 million since he took office. An EPA spokesman told the AP that Pruitt and his family have faced death threats. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.