Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Kevin Chmielewski threatened to “retaliate” against Administrator Scott Pruitt and others over a pay dispute, according to a memo The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained.
“I’m going to make sure everyone knows what he’s doing,” Chmielewski said on a Jan. 27 phone call with Nino Perrotta, the former special agent in charge of Pruitt’s security detail, according to the memo.
Chmielewski leaked information to the media about Pruitt and his close aides, and he gave Democratic lawmakers a laundry list of allegations against the former Oklahoma attorney general. Chmielewski left EPA in March.
The memo, dated Jan. 29, 2018, details two phone calls Perrotta had with Chmielewski, a former EPA official who turned whistleblower. Chmielewski made the call from Japan, where was doing advance work for Vice President Mike Pence. Perrotta authored the memo and sent it to EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson and senior officials at the Office of Criminal Enforcement. TheDCNF only published portions of the memo, as it contained identifying markers.
During the first call, Chmielewski blamed EPA staffers Millan Hupp and Helena Wooden-Aguilar for the fact he had not been paid.
Hupp and Wooden-Aguilar “were about to get into some serious trouble,” Chmielewski told Perrotta. Hupp “was about to get fired for fucking with my pay,” he added, according to the memo.
On the call, Perrotta advised Chmielewski to follow EPA protocols and meet with Wooden-Aguilar to solve his pay dispute, but Chmielewski claimed she would not meet with him. Chmielewski said Vice President Mike Pence’s office was going to get involved in the matter, the memo reads.
Perrotta’s memo sheds light on a possible reason for Chmielewski’s targeting of Hupp. Hupp, who followed Pruitt from Oklahoma, has come up in previous news coverage, including one about her helping Pruitt find a new D.C. housing rental and another about about two close Pruitt aides who got pay raises over White House objections.
Chmielewski also mentioned Hupp by name in testimony to Democratic lawmakers, including accusing Pruitt of ordering his chief of staff to give Hupp “his title and a pay increase.”
Democrats have used Chmielewski’s testimony to amplify their calls for Pruitt’s resignation. White House officials are also reportedly calling for Pruitt’s removal, but President Donald Trump has remained steadfast in his support. (RELATED: TRUMP: I Still Have Confidence In Scott Pruitt)
Chmielewski also targeted former top EPA official Samantha Dravis, who resigned in April. He also alleged Pruitt was doing “illegal shit,” which he planned on revealing.
Perrotta advised Chmielewski “his approach was not wise” and said these pay issues were the result of “actions he failed to take prior to departing from Israel.” Chmielewski “did not care” since Pence’s office was involved and would get back at Hupp for “trying to stab me,” the former EPA official replied.
When Perrotta told Chmielewski to rethink his actions, the former Trump campaign veteran said, “It’s too late,” according to the memo.
Chmielewski called Perrotta the next day, Jan. 28, where “he again stated how he was going to leak unfavorable information about the Administrator,” the memo reads. Perrotta then warned Chmielewski he would have to report him to EPA officials for “his tone and statement.”
Jackson did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
In a recent interview, Perrotta told TheDCNF he believed Chmielewski turned on Trump’s administration “because of that January call” where he said he’d notify EPA leadership. Perrotta mentioned the existence of the January memo during that interview.
“I found that to be very, very bizarre,” Perrotta said. “If you have differences, it should be aired through your chain of command.”
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