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

Scott Pruitt
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A high-ranking political staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency has told lawmakers he faced retaliation after pushing back against outsized spending demands from Administrator Scott Pruitt and his top aides.

House and Senate Democrats sent letters Thursday to President Donald Trump and Pruitt describing a meeting they had with Kevin Chmielewski, who was recently placed on involuntary, unpaid leave from his positon as EPA’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

Chmielewski is a Republican who served as a key staffer for the Trump campaign before being hired at EPA last year to help oversee spending at the agency. He says he was forced out after questioning Pruitt’s travel and security spending, including the administrator’s use of first-class flights.

EPA’s press office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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