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Pruitt’s top spokesperson latest to leave embattled EPA

Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press

Washington – Scott Pruitt’s top spokesperson said Thursday she was leaving the Environmental Protection Agency, the latest high-profile departure as the embattled EPA administrator fights ethics allegations.

Liz Bowman, EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, confirmed by phone she was leaving, but refused to discuss what motivated her departure.

In an emailed statement, Bowman said she was grateful to serve under President Donald Trump and Pruitt.

“Being a member of the EPA team has allowed me to further my skills, learn from my mistakes, and make lifelong friendships,” said Bowman, who left the American Chemistry Council trade group to work for Pruitt.

Her departure comes a week after Pruitt’s security chief and Superfund administrator left amid a growing series of federal ethics investigations of Pruitt’s tenure at EPA.

Former security chief Pasquale Perrotta appeared for an hours-long closed-door interview Wednesday with staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

In interviews and before lawmakers, Pruitt has consistently blamed subordinates for questions about spending by his office, including round-the-clock security and first-class plane tickets for Pruitt.

Last week, the EPA head told congressional lawmakers that he had no idea staffers had spent $43,000 on a soundproof booth after he asked for a private, secure communications set-up.

His former deputy chief of staff, Kevin Chmielewski, denied that, telling ABC News in a segment aired Wednesday that Pruitt knew the booth would be in “the tune of over $40,000.”