House Dems raise concerns about EPA employee allowed to be media consultant

House Democrats asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday to address "serious concer...

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 2:53 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2018 2:54 PM

House Democrats asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday to address "serious concerns of impartiality" about an agency appointee allowed to work as an outside media consultant.

According to the letter, the EPA approved a request by John Konkus, the EPA's deputy associate administrator for the Office of Public Affairs to provide "consultative media advice" to outside clients." The names of those clients, the letter says, are redacted from documents provided to the members by the EPA.

According to ethics documents obtained by Greenwire, the agency informed Konkus that he "could not earn more than $27,765 in outside income for 2017 under ethics law. In addition, he cannot participate in EPA duties that could affect his outside clients, and he cannot contact the government on their behalf."

EPA has not responded to a request for comment from CNN.

The members note that Konkus previously worked at Jamestown Associates, a Republican political consulting firm which provides "services such as campaign advertisement production, direct mail and media buying." Among the firm's premiere clients is Donald Trump for President, Inc., the letter says.

The letter, whose four signatories include Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., the ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Diana DeGette, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, says that the members are concerned about the "politicization of the Agency's grant process and (Pruitt's) decision to place Mr. Konkus in charge of vetting hundreds of millions of dollars in grants EPA awards each year."

The members allege that Konkus has canceled nearly $2 million in grants to universities and nonprofit organizations.

All of these things, the letter says, raise "serious concerns of potential conflicts of interest."

The members want the EPA to provide a list of all political appointees who have approval to work for outside agencies, as well as the names of those organizations and what kind of work they're doing.

It also asks the agency to provide non-redacted copies of all of the memos of approval authorizing any outside activity, a notice of any subsequent approvals, including approvals reflecting a change in the type or scope of outside activity and a list of the names of all authorized clients.

The members also raise concerns about Patrick Davis, a senior adviser for public engagement to the regional administrator in the EPA's Denver, Co. office, who they say was approved by the agency's ethics official to work as the sales director for Telephone Town Hall Meeting, a company that makes robocalls on behalf of organizations and individuals of all types. Davis, the members say, currently works as a Republican political consultant at his firm, Patrick Davis Consulting, LLC.

Davis' roles with the EPA and the Telephone Town Hall Meeting "serve to create possible confusion among stakeholders and raises further concerns of potential conflicts of interest," the letter says.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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