Energy

REPORT: Democrats’ EPA Leaker Misrepresented His Military Service

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The former Environmental Protection Agency deputy chief of staff for operations, who’s behind a Democratic letter full of accusations against Scott Pruitt, reportedly misrepresented how long he served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Kevin Chmielewski’s resume claims he served for four years, from 1998 to 2002, but a Coast Guard spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon the EPA whistleblower only served for one year.

The Free Beacon also reported Chmielewski got two raises totaling $24,000 after working at EPA for three months, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Chmielewski got the raises under the same hiring authority he complained Pruitt had used to secure raises for two close aides.

A former Trump campaign official, Chmielewski, gave congressional Democrats a list of accusations against Pruitt, detailing the administrator’s alleged “wasteful spending” and “disregard for ethical and legal requirements.” Five Democrats, including Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, signed a letter detailing Chmielewski’s accusations.

Chmielewski is also likely source for media reports surrounding Pruitt’s spending habits and alleged ethical lapses. Chmielewski was allegedly removed from his position at EPA for challenging Pruitt, but that hasn’t been confirmed, reports say.

But already some of Chmielewski’s accusations have been questioned. Chmielewski’s accusation Pruitt spent money on leased paintings from the Smithsonian was shown to be false, and two sources pointed to flaws in Chmielewski’s claims about Pruitt’s security.

One source told The Daily Caller News Foundation of Chmielewski’s claims that “more than 60 percent is false, the other 40 percent is information he distorted.”

Now, reports suggest Chmielewski did not accurately represent how long he served in the Coast Guard. Chmielewski reportedly used his Coast Guard service to secure positions in the Trump administration.

The Coast Guard spokeswoman would not say if Chmielewski was honorably discharged, but noted he graduated with the lowest monthly pay grade, called E-1.

“After basic training and roughly a year in [the Coast Guard], you’d be higher than an E-1, you would likely be higher than an E-3,” Jim Dolbow, a professor at the Naval War College, told the Free Beacon.

“You don’t leave the Coast Guard honorably as an E-1 unless you have a medical issue in boot camp, which he would have already graduated from,” Dolbow said.

Chmielewski also asked for and received two big raises totalling $24,000, sources and documents show. Chmielewski was hired under the same Safe Drinking Water provision as two staffers given controversial raises.

Chmielewski mentioned the two raises given to other EPA staffers in the letter put out by Democrats in April, but the letter does not mentioned he also got raises under the same law. It’s unclear if Democrats knew this detail or not.

Chmielewski’s salary went from $115,755 to $140,000, and his title changed from director of advance to deputy chief of staff for operations.

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