Dems say Pruitt security chief’s authorization for side job is invalid

Dems say Pruitt security chief’s authorization for side job is invalid
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Two Democratic senators say the top security guard for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittSierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change 'is 50 to 75 years out' EPA on 'forever chemicals': Let them drink polluted water EPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' MORE has an invalid authorization for outside work.

In a letter Tuesday to top EPA ethics official Kevin Minoli, Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Democrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules MORE (D-R.I.) question multiple facts about a 2013 document that gave Pasquale Perrotta permission to run an outside security firm.

“If this document is EPA’s basis for claiming that Mr. Perrotta has been cleared, under EPA regulations, to run a private security consulting firm while running the Administrator’s personal security detail, it is insufficient on its face,” the senators wrote.

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Carper is the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the EPA, and Whitehouse is a senior member of the panel.

The pair's letter comes as Perrotta, the head of Pruitt’s security detail, has attracted significant media attention in recent weeks.

The New York Times, among other outlets, has identified Perrotta as a key figure in pushing for a dramatic escalation in security spending and activities surrounding Pruitt, such as the EPA chief's unprecedented 24/7 security detail that has cost taxpayers at least $3 million, his frequent first-class flights, his $43,000 soundproof booth in his office, a $3,000 sweep for bugs in his office, biometric locks, a new SUV and bulletproof vests — all at the taxpayers’ expense.

Many of those expenses are now under investigation by the EPA's Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office or Congress.

Perrotta also is an executive at Sequoia Security Group and allegedly helped direct the EPA to pay his partner, Edwin Steinmetz, to conduct the bug sweep.

The senators asked the EPA for numerous documents and other information about Perrotta’s outside work.

The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Carper and Whitehouse said there are three problems with Perrotta’s approval for his side job. The approval was dated March 5, 2013, and said it would expire in five years, which ended last month.

It stated that “if there is a change in the nature or scope of the duties or services performed or the nature of the employee’s business,” Perrotta would have to get a revised approval, the senators said. But his duties at the EPA have changed greatly, including getting a big promotion last year, which Carper and Whitehouse said should meet the standard for a new approval.

The senators also said that Perrotta’s approval did not foresee his outside work becoming what it now is: a company of its own with multiple employees and a broad range of security-related work. They argue his authorization should have been updated.