The Former EPA Chief, and the Many Faces of Corruption

Everyone recognizes that corruption (including bribery and undue influence) are bad things. But it’s surprising how many forms those bad things take. It’s easy to recognize a bribe when it involves a briefcase full of cash slid across a government official’s desk. But sometimes it’s more complicated, and harder to spot, and easier — in principle — to try to deny. The official in question in the story below isn’t accused of accepted cash. He just accepted something better than cash, namely a really good deal on a place to stay in Washington.


LINK: Ethics body questions ex-EPA chief’s $50-a-night condo deal (by Ellen Knickmeyer for Associated Press, via The Telegraph)

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics is refusing to certify one of the final financial disclosure reports of ex-Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, citing the cut-rate $50-a-night deal Pruitt had for a luxury Washington condo.

The ethics body said in a finding released Tuesday that federal authorities never resolved the key question involved — whether Pruitt’s condo deal with the wife of a lobbyist was a proper business arrangement or an improper gift linked to a lobbyist who did business with the EPA.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, resigned last July amid unrelenting scandals over his lavish spending at the EPA and allegations that he repeatedly sought to use his position to obtain favours for himself and his family.

Pruitt’s critics said those favours included his arrangement to rent a Capitol Hill condo for a below-market rate of $50 a night, payable only on the nights he stayed there. Pruitt rented the luxury condo from a company co-owned by the wife of J. Steven Hart, then-chairman of the powerhouse Washington lobbying firm Williams & Jensen…..

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