Public affairs official is third aide to leave EPA this week

Public affairs official is third aide to leave EPA this week
© Greg Nash

A top public affairs official at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling it quits, marking the third departure of one of Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Trump’s EPA chooses coal over the American people MORE's political aides this week.

Liz Bowman, who was in charge of general communications for Pruitt, including answering press inquiries, plans to leave EPA for a job on Capitol Hill.

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“I leave extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve the Trump Administration and Administrator Pruitt," Bowman said, noting her last day would be May 11.

Bowman told The Hill she would be joining Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator divorcing from husband GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections Pence: Trump’s national security will be as 'dominant' in space as it is on Earth MORE's (R-Iowa) office as communication director.

“Being a member of the EPA team has allowed me to further my skills, learn from my mistakes, and make lifelong friendships. It has also provided me the opportunity to develop a new, and deep, respect for the public servants who serve the American people, day in and day out, to ensure that we all have access to clean air, land, and water.”

Bowman's departure comes at an increasingly challenging time for Pruitt, who has been under intense scrutiny for questionable expenditures and has faced a number of ethics scandals.

Earlier this week two of Pruitt's top aides, also mired in their own scandals, resigned from the agency.

Albert Kelly, who was hired to lead the agency's Superfund program last year, resigned Tuesday and Pruitt's head of security, Pasquale Perrotta, resigned on Monday, EPA confirmed.

Kelly was under fire from the time he was announced to his position for his lack of a scientific background and his own financial history.

It was first reported last December that Kelly was banned from working in the banking sector for life. Pruitt hired Kelly not long after as an adviser for the Superfund program. Kelly used to lead SpiritBank, based in Pruitt's hometown of Tulsa, Okla. The two have known each other for years, and Kelly got Pruitt financing for a mortgage and to help buy a minor league baseball team.

Perrotta spent his last day at the EPA 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 as reports that he used his power to influence a number of EPA security contracts.

Perrotta has also been linked to concerns about some 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.

He said the press was taking a toll on his family.