Former aide tells Congress of extravagant spending by EPA's Scott Pruitt

Lawmakers' Letter Claims Further Spending Abuses the EPA Head, Scott Pruitt

Lawmakers' Letter Claims Further Spending Abuses the EPA Head, Scott Pruitt

Dravis announced last week that she is leaving the agency later this month.

Chmielewski said Pruitt also abused spending for his office decorations, exceeding the $5,000 limit imposed on presidential appointees by, among other things, building a $43,000 soundproof phone booth and leasing art from the Smithsonian Museum.

Chmielewski, the lawmakers said, had laid everything on the table in a meeting with their staffs. While Jackson took responsibility earlier this week and said Pruitt had no knowledge of what transpired, Chmielewski said Pruitt was fully aware. The Democrats said in the letter to Trump that Chmielewski told them he spoke out against Pruitt because regardless of political party "right is right, and wrong is wrong". In November, Pruitt said his staff has focused on eliminating the backlog of records requests filed during the Obama administration over responding to more recent requests.

The Post obtained a letter Sens.

The letters were sent by Senators Tom Carper of DE and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, as well as Representatives Don Beyer of Virginia, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, and Gerry Connolly of Virginia. Elijah Commings (D-MD), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Don Beyer (D-VA).

The new allegations are the latest blow to Pruitt, 49, whose continued leadership of the environmental agency has been under fire since the revelation two weeks ago that he lived in a bargain-priced Capitol Hill condo tied to a fossil fuels lobbyist.

Senate Republicans were moving on Thursday to confirm former coal industry lobbyist Andrew R Wheeler as the second highest ranking official at EPA. As the EPA's deputy administrator, Wheeler will be next in line if Pruitt is forced to resign or is fired. The EPA's inspector general undertook an audit "to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business". The GOP-led House Oversight committee recently expanded its ongoing probe of Pruitt's travel spending to include his living arrangements.

Chmielewski, a lifelong Republican and former Trump aide, was placed on administrative leave in February by Pruitt.


Pruitt would do the same in order to frequently spend long weekends back home in Oklahoma, the letters allege.

Pruitt was also concerned about his frequent flier miles: Chmielewski, the letter says, stated that Pruitt directed his staff "to book flights on Delta, even when they are not the federal government's contract carrier for the route, because you want to accrue more frequent flier miles".

Pruitt is also accused of refusing to stay in Australian and Italian hotels that were recommended by the U.S. Embassy because of security concerns, instead demanding to stay at more expensive hotels that required even more taxpayer funds to pay for additional security.

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".

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.

After the White House refused to sign off on the raise for Hupp, Chmielewski said Pruitt used a little known legal authority exclusively granted to the EPA administrator to push it through himself.

"A career EPA staffer predicted Caraballo's dismissal would stiffen the resolve of Pruitt's critics within the agency", Politico reported.

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