Dems claim Pruitt's former security chief intervened to hire business associate

Dems claim Pruitt's former security chief intervened to hire business associate

Two Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspector general (IG) look into the business dealings of Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittDem senator presses EPA over reporter 'intimidation' Overnight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews Overnight Energy: Pruitt spent at least ,600 to decorate office | EPA backtracks and lets reporters into summit after criticism | White House to 'look into' incident MORE's former head of security.

Ranking member Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus MORE (D-Del.) and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseHouse easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump Senate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill Dems expand 2018 message to ‘draining the swamp’ MORE (D-R.I.) asked the IG office Tuesday to look into a number of issues related to Pasquale Perrotta's employment and role at the EPA, including his work at an outside security firm he partly owned, his involvement in choosing Edwin Steinmetz — his outside business associate — to conduct security sweeps at the agency, and how he worked with Pruitt to advance his security needs.

The two senators have been active in investigating allegations surrounding Pruitt and have interviewed a number of former and current EPA employees about Pruitt's security requests and other ethics concerns.

Perrotta retired early from the EPA in early May, citing media pressure on his family.


In their letter to the IG office, the senators claim Perrotta had been authorized to operate his security company, Sequoia Security Group, while working at the EPA, but failed to reauthorize his request after five years. Citing emails they obtained between Perrotta and EPA security and facilities management, the Democrats said Perrotta additionally sought to hire Steinmetz to help do a security sweep of Pruitt's office without alerting staff of potential conflicts of interest.

"Contrary to Mr. Perrotta's claims, it is far from clear that it was all 'out in the open.' We believe these communications show Mr. Perrotta was far more involved in the events surrounding the Steinmetz sweep than he claims, that the 'issues' related selecting a vendor were career officials trying to follow proper EPA procedures, and that EPA funds may have been spent in violation of EPA contracting policy," the senators wrote.

Bother senators argued that Perrotta's retirement should not affect the investigation.

"In our view his retirement does not vitiate the need for your review because of the potential that other EPA process and procedures that should have imposed oversight on Mr. Perrotta's activities were either not followed or not effective," they wrote.

The senators highlighted that they had both previously sent requests to both Pruitt and the Designated Agency Ethics Official Kevin Minoli to get answers and documents related to their concerns but received no response.

It was reported in December that EPA hired Steinmetz last March on a $3,000 “communications audit” to sweep Pruitt's office for listening devices. Since then, internal EPA reports has surfaced that show officials labelled the sweep as failing to meet government standards.