Upheaval at Pruitt’s EPA as departures mount

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears to be in a state of massive upheaval following the departure of several aides and new allegations against the agency’s embattled administrator, Scott Pruitt.

Four officials at the agency have stepped down in the past week, an exodus that has deprived Pruitt of some of his closest aides. 

Meanwhile, several new controversies have exploded around Pruitt regarding his travel and his ties to lobbyists. 

People with knowledge of the departures at EPA likened them to getting out of Dodge, either due to impending investigations or simply a desire to escape a tumultuous work environment. One source described the offices at EPA as “eerily quiet” this week.

The first resignation came Tuesday, when Albert Kelly, a close friend of Pruitt’s who was hired to lead the EPA’s Superfund program, announced his departure. 

The week before Kelly’s resignation, two Democratic House members had asked EPA’s inspector general to investigate Kelly’s qualifications and “unexplained red flags.” Once someone leaves government employment, the inspector general’s office cannot compel someone to comply with an investigation. 

Lawmakers became interested in Kelly after it emerged in December that he had been banned for life from working in the banking sector. Reports also asserted that Kelly had helped get Pruitt financing for a mortgage and to buy a minor league baseball team.

Tuesday also brought the departure of Pruitt’s head of security, Pasquale Perrotta, a career official who previously worked at the Secret Service. He said he was leaving the EPA because press coverage was taking a toll on his family.