Pruitt's security, Superfund chief leave as probe heats up

- Mei 01, 2018

The House committee investigating Scott Pruitt’s spending and ethics scandals will interview the head of the embattled EPA administrator’s security team, Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, on Wednesday, a committee aide told POLITICO.

The news comes after Perrotta, who ran Pruitt’s unusual, round-the-clock protective detail, told ABC News he had resigned from the agency on Monday.

Separately, EPA confirmed that Pruitt's top Superfund adviser, Albert “Kell” Kelly, is leaving the agency after attraction controversy over his past, including being banned for life from the banking industry by the FDIC.

Both actions came days after a pair of congressional hearings in which Pruitt blamed his staff, including his security aides, for his massive spending on bodyguards, first-class flights, a $43,000 soundproof phone booth, a biometric door lock and other unheard-of expenses for an EPA leader. Lawmakers also asked Pruitt about Kelly's background.

"Kell Kelly’s service at EPA will be sorely missed," Pruitt said in a statement. Axios first reported Kelly's departure.

The House Oversight Committee is in the process of scheduling other interviews with senior EPA officials, the committee aide said. The agency provided more than 1,000 pages of documents Friday. “At this point, EPA is complying with our requests,” the aide said.

Perrotta told ABC he resigned for personal reasons."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 ABC. Perrotta said he will "fully cooperate and answer any and all questions" from Congress.

Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent who worked in various capacities at EPA since 2004, is connected to several allegations made against Pruitt in recent months, including that he steered a bug-sweeping contract to a colleague at an outside security firm he founded. There is "no truth" to that accusation, he said

Perrotta also denied to ABC allegations made by former EPA scheduling staffer Kevin Chmielewski that he threatened to come to his home and take his EPA parking pass after Chmielewski was dismissed earlier this year.

Multiple sources told POLITICO last month that Perrotta has been a driving force behind the rapidly increased security spending for Pruitt.

Perrotta did not answer phone calls from POLITICO on Tuesday morning.

EPA spokespeople did not immediately return questions about his resignation.


 

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