EPA chief Scott Pruitt faces more scrutiny from Democrats. This time, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper wants to know more about a contract recently won by Pruitt’s head of security, Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta.
In a letter fired off to the former Oklahoma Attorney General this week, Carper questioned the security-related $3,000 contract from the EPA.
Perrotta, who has traveled on several occasions with Pruitt as part of his protective security detail is a Principal and founder of the Sequoia Security Group. His business partner is Edwin Steinmetz and it was their company that did a sweep of Pruitt’s office for “hidden listening devices and bought sophisticated biometric locks for additional security” according to the Associated Press.
“These facts raise questions about Mr. Perrotta’s compliance with EPA regulations and concerns that he may have used his position at the agency to influence the award of EPA contracts to a person or company in which he has a financial interest,” wrote Sen. Carper along with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island. Both sit on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.
Carper and Whitehouse say there are a number of government ethics rules that come into play regarding Perrotta’s business interest. They asked Pruitt for information about Perrotta’s current work at the EPA and for more details about Sequoia and Edwin Stienmetz Associates.
“It is our understanding that Mr. Perrotta is a key member of your protective security detail. His LinkedIn profile states he serves as “Acting Special Agent in Charge” of a U.S. Government agency. According to records provided by EPA to Senator Whitehouse last year, Mr. Perrotta has accompanied you on several trips outside Washington DC, including trips to Kentucky on June 7, 2017, Tulsa and Guymon, OK on July 27, 2017, Denver and Durango, CO on August 4, 2017, and Grand Forks, ND on August 9, 2017. This is likely an incomplete list of out-of-state travel by you and Mr. Perrotta because the documents provided were related only to your travel on non-commercial flights through August 2017, and Mr. Perrotta accompanied you on all four of the flights identified,” began the Senators.
They later pointed out EPA employees are subject to federal law and regulations governing conflicts of interest.
“With respect to Sequoia and Edwin Steinmetz Associates:
- Please provide copies of all contracts between EPA and Sequoia, Edwin Steinmetz Associates, or any other person associated with Sequoia.
- Please provide copies of all three contracts related to the bug sweep and biometric locks identified in the Associated Press article.
- Was Mr. Perrotta involved in any decision related to the need for this particular security assessment or the award of these contracts in particular? If so, please provide any documentation authorizing him to participate in these decisions.
- Were these contracts competitively bid? If not, why not and please describe how contractors were selected.
We would appreciate a response to these questions, and responsive documents, not later than March 21, 2018.”