EPA to abandon restrictions against chemical linked to climate change
Media aide is fourth resignation from EPA this week
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) media aide John Konkus is adding his name to the growing list of political aides leaving the agency this week.
Konkus became the fourth Pruitt aide to resign in five days - and the second in Pruitt's media department. Pruitt's communications head, Liz Bowman, announced her departure Thursday.
Konkus serves as deputy associate administrator in the EPA's office of public affairs, which is the second in command on the communications staff.
Ryan Jackson, Pruitt's chief of staff, confirmed Konkus's departure Friday and said he was leaving to take a communications job at the Small Business Administration.
"From transition, working side by side with John as one of the 'sherpas' for Administrator Pruitt's nomination, through his work on the beachhead early at EPA, and as Deputy Associate Administrator, John has been a valuable member of the EPA communications team," Jackson said in a statement.
"Administrator Pruitt is grateful for John's service and wishes him well as he continues to serve the Trump Administration leading communications at the Small Business Administration."
Konkus did not respond to a request for comment.
Konkus's resignation comes amid reports that agency aide Michael Abboud had shopped around a story earlier in the week alleging that an Interior Department staffer was conspiring with a former EPA aide-turned-whistleblower to spread stories about Pruitt.
Pruitt did not issue his own statement of support for Konkus, as he had done earlier in the week for two other political aides who resigned, Albert Kelly and Pasquale Perrotta.
Kelly, who was hired to lead the agency's Superfund program last year, resigned Tuesday, and Perrotta, Pruitt's head of security, resigned on Monday.
Kelly has been under fire from the time he was announced to his position for his lack of a scientific background and his own financial history.
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.