Ex-aide says he’ll take credit for Pruitt’s downfall

Articles The Hill

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Kevin Chmielewski, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whistleblower who played a central role in Scott Pruitt’s downfall at the agency, said he feels vindicated by the administrator’s departure.

“I hate to take a credit for a man losing his job, but I guess I’d have to say that I take the credit,” Chmielewski told The Hill on Friday, the day Pruitt left the EPA.

Chmielewski, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at the agency during most of Pruitt’s tenure, leaked documents and provided information that prompted investigations into several high-profile scandals, from the retroactive altering of the administrator’s public calendar to a request that staff help him find a condo in Washington.

Chmielewski left the agency in February, saying he was forced out after questioning spending and management practices.

But he didn’t step back after his dismissal. Instead, he guided journalists and environmentalists toward controversies surrounding Pruitt by recommending which agency documents to seek out via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

“I’ve put the breadcrumbs where they had to go and pointed to the FOIAs — the FOIAs have been 99.9 percent of it,” Chmielewski said. “They’ve all come back, and in a lot of cases they were worse than I even knew about.”