Top Dems Release Detailed New Info from Senior EPA Whistleblower
Letters Sent to Trump and EPA After Pruitt’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Comes Forward
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent a letter to President Donald Trump and a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt expressing grave concerns about stunning new revelations they received this week from Kevin Chmielewski—a long-time supporter and campaign aide of President Trump who served as Pruitt’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at EPA.
In their letter to President Trump, the Members described the meeting with the whistleblower earlier this week and called on the President to finally hold Pruitt accountable:
“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. …
Given your recent statements about Administrator Pruitt’s ethical troubles, it appears that you may not have not received all the facts surrounding Administrator Pruitt’s spending, security arrangements, travel, living arrangements, and personnel actions, among other things. …
Mr. Chmielewski said to us when explaining his decision to speak out against Administrator Pruitt that, regardless of political party, ‘right is right, and wrong is wrong.’
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.”
The Members also sent a more detailed letter to Pruitt setting forth a lengthy set of specific allegations made by the whistleblower, and the Members made requests for multiple broad categories of documents based on the whistleblower’s disclosures. The Members wrote to Pruitt:
“Mr. Chmielewski described an environment in which you sought to marginalize, remove or otherwise retaliate against agency employees who advised you not to take these troubling actions, or refused to take or justify such actions at your direction.
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 Mr. Chmielewski learned more about your wasteful spending, irresponsible travel and inappropriate security efforts, he reported that he also learned that ‘every time you tried to find out about something you got in trouble.’
He said that when he refused to approve your inappropriate and unethical spending, he claimed he was marginalized, removed from his senior position and placed on administrative leave. He said that he watched as others were punished, demoted, and retaliated against when they tried to resist inappropriate directions that came from you or through your favored staff. …
The new information provided by Mr. Chmielewski, if accurate, leaves us certain that your leadership at EPA has been fraught with numerous and repeated unethical and potentially illegal actions on a wide range of consequential matters that you and some members of your staff directed.”
Click here to read the full letter to President Trump.
Click here to read the full letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt.