Ex-Trump aide on leave after questioning Pruitt's spending

  • Ex-Trump aide on leave after questioning Pruitt's spending

Ex-Trump aide on leave after questioning Pruitt's spending

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Chmielewski, a Republican, is a supporter of and former campaign aide to Donald Trump.

The two letters provide fresh insight into the way Pruitt treated those around him, including top political appointees, who questioned his extravagant use of taxpayer dollars.

Here are nine of the most shocking things Chmielewski told Congress about Pruitt's tenure in charge of the EPA. EPA has also said Chmielewski is among "a group of disgruntled employees who have either been dismissed or reassigned".

Chmielewski said he was listening on speaker phone during a call past year in which lobbyist Steven Hart complained that Pruitt had not even been paying that modest rent.

A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said in an email that Pruitt's office has portraits of James Monroe and John Marshall on loan from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and one piece, Mountain Landscape by William Louis Sonntag from 1854, on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Even before the new allegations, the accumulating scandals led members of both parties to call on Pruitt to resign.

Though Wilcox has said the security costs are justified due to "unprecedented" death threats against Pruitt and his family, Democrats disclosed the existence of an internal EPA analysis on Wednesday that concluded there was not "any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator". Chmielewski says he intervened to stop the arrangement.

Kevin Chmielewski, who was sacked after voicing his objections, says Pruitt told staffers to "find me something to do" in order to schedule travel to his desired destinations.

Pruitt insisted on staying at expensive hotels that exceeded the federal government's per diem rate, "sometimes even exceeding the 300 percent cap permitted in exceptional circumstances".

The Associated Press reported last week that Pruitt's concern with his safety cost taxpayers about $3 million, as his swollen security team blew through overtime budgets and diverted officers away from investigating environmental crimes. But Chmielewski alleges that, on two worldwide trips, Pruitt refused to stay at hotels recommended by the U.S. embassy that had more rigorous security standards in favor of "more expensive hotels with fewer standard security measures". Chmielewski told Democratic senators and representatives he believes he was "marginalized, removed from his senior position and placed on administrative leave" for speaking up about Pruitt's "inappropriate and unethical spending".

Mr. Chmielewski claims that when he first started in his role as a politically appointed Senior Executive Service official at EPA, Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson informed him that 'the nightmare is now yours.' Mr. Chmielewski said those words turned out to be accurate.

As Chmielewski claims, after he returned from a trip to Asia in February, Pruitt's head of security, Nino Perrotta, tried to have Chmielewski's EPA credentials confiscated.

"We believe that if you speak with knowledgeable parties like Mr. Chmielewski and examine relevant documents, it will become clear that the right course of action in this case is to hold Administrator Pruitt accountable for his serious ethical lapses and to restore honest, competent leadership to EPA so that this important agency may fulfill its critical mission".

"While Mr. Chmielewski described himself as a lifelong Republican and a strong supporter of yours and the Vice President, he painted an extremely troubling picture of wasteful spending, unethical behavior, and improper retaliation against EPA staff on the part of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt".