Lawmakers: EPA Security Chief Improperly Runs Outside Firm - NBC Southern California
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

Lawmakers: EPA Security Chief Improperly Runs Outside Firm

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    How a Business Education Can Help You Advance Your Career 
    AP
    FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2018 photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt attends a meeting at the White House in Washington.

    The security chief for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency has been operating an outside consulting firm without proper approval from ethics officials, Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday.

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year tapped EPA special agent Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta to be his security chief and lead his 20-member personal protective detail. Perrotta also is the top executive at Sequoia Security Group, a Maryland-based security firm.

    Perrotta received clearance in March 2013 for limited nongovernment consulting work but was required to get updated approval if his job duties changed. Perrotta received a significant promotion and pay raise last year.

    The 2013 approval, which was in effect for a five-year period that expired last month, also barred Perrotta from using his government position to advance his personal interests.

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    [NATL] Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    The Associated Press reported in December that EPA paid $3,000 to contractor Edwin Steinmetz Associates last year to search Pruitt's office for secret listening devices. Steinmetz is also listed as a vice president at Perrotta's security firm.

    Emails obtained by congressional Democrats showed that Perrotta played a role in the decision to conduct the bug sweep, the contract for which the lawmakers allege he improperly steered to Steinmetz.

    Tuesday's letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who serve on a committee with oversight of EPA. They ask an agency ethics official to re-examine whether Perrotta's outside employment violates agency rules.

    Steinmetz found no listening devices. EPA's Office of Homeland Security later determined the sweep was "very basic and cursory" and "did not employ the equipment, proper certification, or necessary processes" to be approved by the U.S. government for sensitive facilities, according to internal EPA documents.

    EPA's press office did not respond to messages seeking comment about the bug sweep or Perrotta's side business.

    In an interview with the AP on Monday, Steinmetz defended the quality of his work.

    Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    [NATL] Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    Watch actor Donald Glover, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former NFL player Owens Burgess testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves.

     

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    The bug sweep was part of a larger push by Pruitt to enhance his personal security that included spending on first-class airfare he claims was justified after unpleasant interactions with other travelers. The Government Accountability Office found earlier this month that a $43,000 privacy booth bought for Pruitt to make private phone calls violated federal purchasing laws.