The internal watchdog that investigates misuse of funds at the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to expand its reviews of ethical allegations against Administrator Scott Pruitt to include his arrangement to live in a Capitol Hill townhouse connected to lobbyists, according to a letter from the inspector general to members of Congress.
The living arrangement, first reported by ABC News, was for $50 a night at a Capitol Hill condo co-owned by the wife of a top lobbyist.
EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said in the letter that he will add to existing investigations in response to requests from members of Congress, hotline complaints, and issues raises by the federal government's top ethics official.
Elkins wrote that his office will now review Pruitt's living arrangements, travel spending, use of staff and expenditures for security and travel, approvals of hiring and salary decisions, use of subordinates time, and reassignment or demotion of staff who objected to spending decisions.
The letter was sent to multiple Democrats that requested investigations into Pruitt, including Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Ca., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.
Some of those questions are already ongoing, including reviews of the cost of Pruitt's expanded security detail and the use of frequent first-class flights that Pruitt says were recommended for security reasons. Those reports are expected to be published this summer.
The inspector general's office is also looking into the use of a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act to appoint employees, which is expected to include significant raises that were granted to two of Pruitt's aides. The office has already issued an alert that those raises were granted by Pruitt's Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson.