EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s Discount Landlord Exits Lobbying Firm

The lobbyist who infamously rented EPA Chief Scott Pruitt a room in his Capital Hill condo for $50 a night has left his firm, a source close to the firm confirmed to The Daily Beast. J. Steven Hart, who chaired the powerhouse lobbying shop Williams & Jensen announced that he was stepping down on Friday, weeks after his arrangement with Pruitt was first exposed. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Hart was under intense pressure from colleagues to leave his post. Scrutiny over his decision to rent Pruitt a room (even as Williams & Jensen had clients with business before the EPA) had hurt the firm’s bottom line and made it harder to recruit new clients. In a letter announcing his resignation, Hart said that it was “easier on my family and the firm to expedite my departure.” But the source close to the firm said that “the partners were preparing to separate him from the firm themselves,” which ultimately convinced Hart to negotiate a buyout instead. Hart is likely to start his own shop, the source said, but it would focus more on legal work than lobbying. “Would he be taking business away from the firm?” the source said, “No. Not after all this stuff.” — Sam Stein