A whistleblower from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children Science matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE was “bold-faced” lying in his congressional hearing when he said no EPA employees faced retaliation.
Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski in an interview that aired Monday on ABC News said he was “100 percent” forced out of the agency after questioning Pruitt’s costly first-class travel.
Pruitt faced back-to-back congressional panels last week where he was grilled over a series of ethics scandals.
In one hearing, Pruitt denied retaliating against any employees who disagreed with him.
Chmielewski blasted that claim, saying he was called into chief of staff Ryan Jackson’s office and threatened.
“Hey, Administrator Pruitt either wants me to fire you or put you in an office so that he doesn't have to see you again,” Jackson reportedly said.
Chmielewski called Jackson “a very honorable guy” but said he was placed in a weird situation.
Chmielewski was put on administrative leave without pay earlier this year in what he says was retaliation for pushing back on Pruitt’s decisions.
"They didn't wanna touch it with a ten-foot pole. Understandably. I mean, at this point I'm going up against a Cabinet secretary. Who wants to do that? I sure didn't want to, and still don't want to. But that's apparently where I'm at now," he said to ABC News.
ABC News obtained a personnel form from EPA officials that says Chmielewski resigned on March 17; however, the form was not signed by Chmielewski.
He says he was forced out of his position a month earlier when he refused to sign off on first-class flights for one of Pruitt’s aides.
"I refused to do it. And, once again, I think that was some of the beginning of the retaliation, and why, you know, 'cause I said 'absolutely not.' And I kinda got in trouble behind closed doors for not signing that. Just, 'Kevin, sign it. You know, be done with it.' And the last thing I was doing was signing off on that," Chmielewski said.