State of California is once again facing the Trump administration since it sued the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for announcing a loose of the antipollution standards for automobiles and, thus, undermining, even more, the fight against climate change.
The lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, whose wife co-owns the building, complained that the administrator had failed to pay rent, and that his adult daughter, McKenna Pruitt, damaged the hardwood floors by repeatedly rolling her luggage though the residence while she stayed there during a White House internship.
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. Pruitt insisted in a recent television interview that he didn't know about the raises until after they were disclosed in media reports. In one, they state that their conversation with Chmielewski "painted an extremely troubling picture of wasteful spending, unethical behavior, and improper retaliation against EPA staff".
On a trip to Italy, Pruitt "refused to stay at hotels recommended by the US Embassy, although the recommended hotel had law enforcement and other US resources on site", according to the letter obtained by the paper.
The lawmakers on Thursday detailed their "grave concerns" in letters to Pruitt and President Donald Trump after interviewing Kevin Chmielewski, the EPA's former deputy chief of staff for operations, who said he was put on leave after refusing to retroactively approve first-class travel for one of Pruitt's top aides. EPA has also said Chmielewski is among "a group of disgruntled employees who have either been dismissed or reassigned".
Patrick Sullivan, EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations, told CNN in October 2017 that the threats against Pruitt were numerous.
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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. Tom Carper (Del.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) ― sent the letter to Pruitt and President Donald Trump.
Pruitt was reimbursed for these travel expenses when he personally laid out the money for them, though some of his security detail were not fully compensated for their luxury travel, Chmielewski alleged.
The letters to Trump and Pruitt were signed by Sens.
For other trips, Mr. Pruitt pushed the agency to book him on Delta, even though it is not the federal government's contract carrier, "because you want to accrue more frequent flier miles", the letter says.
Chmielewski told congressional investigators that he had personal knowledge - through a conversation with Jackson - that Pruitt was involved in the raises given to his agency attorney and the scheduling director. Pruitt "frequently stayed in" hotels that exceeded the allowable government per diem by as much as 300 times the cap permitted in exceptional circumstances.
An EPA spokesman told the paper: "We will respond to members of Congress through the proper channel".