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Ex-EPA official who spoke about Pruitt scandals claims retaliation in new lawsuit

Ex-EPA official who spoke about Pruitt scandals claims retaliation in new lawsuit
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A former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who spoke out about scandals involving administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA's scientific integrity in question over science rule Major unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE sued the Trump administration this week, claiming that he was retaliated against. 

Kevin Chmielewski, who served as the deputy chief of staff in 2017 and 2018, sued both the EPA over his removal and the Energy Department for not hiring him. 

Chmielewski's lawsuit alleges that he was “removed for retaliatory reasons and without due process of law because he engaged in a series of allegations to appropriate officials, human resources staff, agency counsel, and Congressional committees that the Administrator was engaged in a pattern and practice of incurring travel expenses, office improvements, and use of staff for personal tasks in violation of federal statutes, regulations and EPA policies.”

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While at the EPA, Chmielewski leaked documents and provided information that prompted investigations into scandals like the retroactive altering of Pruitt’s public calendar and a request that staff help him find a condo in Washington.

Pruitt left the agency in 2018 amid a number of ethics controversies and Chmielewski told The Hill at the time that he’d take credit for Pruitt’s departure. 

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday and first reported by E&E News on Wednesday. 

Chmielewski claimed that after being stripped of access to the EPA’s building, he received documents signed by other officials falsely stating that he had resigned. He alleged that he was later told his insurance was canceled. 

EPA spokesperson Molly Block declined to comment, saying in an email that “we can’t comment on pending litigation.”

In the suit, the former official also claimed that his actions at EPA caused him not to be hired by the Energy Department. 

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He said that he was “unable to find work” after his removal from the EPA until the Energy Department in March of this year “informed him that he would be hired.”

His lawsuit claimed, however, that White House officials told him in April that “every time they tried to pass his paperwork through, it was stopped by numerous people because of what happened at the EPA with Scott Pruitt due to Plaintiff’s disclosures.”

Spokespeople for the Energy Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.