Energy & Environment

Pruitt’s head of security resigns

Greg Nash

The head of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s security team, who was long credited with validating Pruitt’s first-class travel, has resigned.

Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta’s last day is Tuesday, according to an EPA source.

Perrotta confirmed to ABC News that he was resigning.

“All of this press is taking a toll on my family. I decided to move on and it’s been an honor to serve,” he told the network on Tuesday.

The career political official and former Secret Service agent has been under the microscope lately for decisions he’s made as Pruitt’s security chief as well reports that he used his power to influence a number of EPA security contracts.

Pruitt has frequently cited Perrotta as the security official who signed off his first-class travel.

Speaking in front of two House of Representatives committees last week, Pruitt cited his security team for the recommendation that he travel in seats near the front of the plane when he flies for work-related trips. Pruitt said he has since decided to change that policy.

Perrotta has also been linked to concerns about a number of Pruitt’s security contracts, including an April 2017 security sweep in the administrator’s office. The sweep was completed by Edwin Steinmetz, a business partner of Perrotta’s at Sequoia Security Group.

{mosads}Perrotta accompanied Pruitt as part of his 24-hour security detail on his trip to Italy and the Vatican last June. The trip cost more than $120,000, according to internal EPA travel vouchers released through a Freedom of Information Act request. Part of Pruitt’s security team abroad was made up of local Italians who aided efforts on the ground.

Kevin Chmielewski, a former EPA political aide turned whistleblower, told lawmakers in early April that Perrotta personally chose the Italian security team, and he was friends with them, according to a letter the lawmakers sent to President Trump and Pruitt. Chmielewski said $30,000 was spent on the contract with the Italians.

Chmielewski also told the lawmakers that he returned from a work trip to Japan in February to find his office locked and credentials revoked. Perrotta later called him and said he would personally go to Chmielewski’s home to forcibly retrieve his EPA parking pass. Chmielewski said that he alerted the local police and White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

On news of his departure, Pruitt described Perrotta as selfless and thanked him for his service.

“Nino Perrotta has selflessly served the American people for more than 23 years, beginning his career as a special agent with the United States Secret Service and then serving four EPA Administrators. His hard work and dedication will be missed by all those who worked with him. I want to thank him for his service and wish him the very best in retirement,” Pruitt said in a statement.

Perrotta will give a transcribed interview to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, an event first requested by the committee on April 13, according to a committee aide.

The aide said that Perrotta’s resignation will not impact his appearance before the committee.

Last week, the committee, led by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), received over 1,000 pages of documents in response to their two previous letters sent to Pruitt in April and February, the aide said.

Timothy Cama contributed to this report.

Tags Donald Trump EPA Scott Pruitt Security detail Trey Gowdy United States Environmental Protection Agency

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