Washington, DC – Nonpartisan ethics watchdog American Oversight filed a new lawsuit today seeking answers about Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, the head of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail, and his involvement in justifying Pruitt’s excessive spending.
The lawsuit asks the court to order EPA to release records including waivers authorizing Pruitt and Perrotta to spend taxpayer funds on first class plane tickets. American Oversight is also asking EPA to turn over any communications between Perrotta and his business partner, Edwin Steinmetz, a private security consultant to whom Perrotta steered a $3,000 federal contract to “sweep” Pruitt’s office for listening devices.
“The taxpayers have been footing the bill for Scott Pruitt’s luxury travel, and we have a right to see for ourselves whether those expenses were justified,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “Whether Mr. Perrotta has been making recommendations based on real security concerns or whether he’s simply enabling Scott Pruitt’s spending in order to advance his own career and steer jobs to his business associates, it’s clear that he’s gone far beyond his job description as a bodyguard.”
American Oversight has been investigating Perrotta’s role at EPA since last year and has filed a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking details of his involvement in Pruitt’s security-related spending.
The complaint filed today seeks the release of documents in response to four FOIA requests filed by American Oversight, including:
American Oversight has now filed seven lawsuits against the EPA seeking the release of records and currently has more than 50 FOIA requests pending at the agency. One previous lawsuit forced the EPA to release detailed records of Pruitt’s office renovations, including the $43,000 spent to install a soundproof phone booth. Yesterday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that Pruitt’s spending on the phone booth violated federal law.
A separate American Oversight lawsuit compelled the release of detailed calendars from Pruitt’s first months in office revealing extensive meetings with executives from energy and chemical industry companies.
Part of Investigation: