Senate Dems ask Pruitt for answers over security detail's business ties

A pair of Senate Democrats are raising concerns over a potential business conflict within the Environmental Protectio...

Posted: Mar. 6, 2018 4:00 PM
Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 4:41 PM

A pair of Senate Democrats are raising concerns over a potential business conflict within the Environmental Protection Agency with a member of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's security team and an outside security firm.

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In a letter to Pruitt, Sens. Thomas Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island ask for additional information on Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta, who is employed at the EPA and is a principal at Sequoia Security Group.

According to the letter dated Tuesday, one of Perrotta's business associates had a security contract with the EPA last year.

"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," the letter says.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Perrotta encouraged EPA officials to contract with his fellow business associate from Sequoia Security Group, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal agency decisions.

Sequoia Security Group did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

The Associated Press first reported that Edwin Steinmetz was hired by the EPA to do a security sweep of the administrator's office, but his business ties to Perrotta weren't initially reported on.

"Mr. Steinmetz is Vice President of Technical Surveillance Countermeasures at Sequoia; in other words, he is a business partner of Mr. Perrotta," the senators' letter reads. It requests answers to a series of questions to "understand how EPA is ensuring that Mr. Perrotta is complying" with conflict of interest laws.

Pruitt has until March 21 to respond to their questions, according to the letter.

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