J. Steven Hart, the energy lobbyist whose wife charged Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt below-market rent on a Washington condo she co-owned, lobbied the EPA for three clients in 2017, his former firm has disclosed.
When the condo story broke, Hart said he "do[es] not lobby the EPA" and had "no lobbying contact with the EPA in 2017 or 2018." Pruitt likewise said Hart had "no clients who have business before this agency." The new disclosures, first reported by The Hill Friday evening, indicate those claims were not accurate.
Hart was previously known to have arranged a meeting between Pruitt and an executive of one of the three clients, Smithfield Foods. However, Hart claimed the meeting should not be considered lobbying because the executive was acting as a representative of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a Maryland environmental agency, and not on Smithfield's behalf. However, the new disclosures show Hart did additional work with the EPA for Smithfield and also lobbied the agency for two previously unknown clients, Coca-Cola and the Financial Oversight and Management Control Board of Puerto Rico.
Hart did not respond Friday to requests for comment from multiple media outlets. He resigned from the lobbying firm that made the disclosures, Williams & Jensen, in April. Bonnie Kristian