Energy

Here Are Questions ABC News Should Have Asked The EPA Leaker

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

ABC News ran its interview with former Environmental Protection Agency official Kevin Chmielewski on Monday night, focusing on the whistle-blower’s accusations Administrator Scott Pruitt “bold-faced” lied to Congress.

Chmielewski told ABC he was a “a pretty credible source,” since he worked on the Trump campaign. ABC News apparently didn’t push back on the assertion, despite recent reports questioning the accuracy of some of Chmielewski claims and showing he potentially lied about his military service.

Chmielewski was one of several EPA officials allegedly “sidelined” for challenging Pruitt on spending decisions, The New York Times reported. Chmielewski, likely a source behind leaks to the media about Pruitt, has since detailed numerous allegations against Pruitt to Democratic lawmakers.

However, several reports have surfaced that seem to undercut Chmielewski’s accusations against Pruitt and his reliability as a whistleblower that ABC News did not address in their interview.

Here are four questions ABC News should have asked the EPA leaker:

Did you lie about your military service on your resume?

Chmielewski’s resume claims he served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years, but a Coast Guard spokeswoman told The Washington Free Beacon Chmielewski actually served for less than one year.

The Free Beacon reported Chmielewski inflated military service was on “the resume he used to secure positions in the Trump administration.”

Why didn’t you file a legally-required financial disclosure form?

ProPublica reported in April that Chmielewski “spent a year in the Trump administration but never filed a financial disclosure form,” which could be a criminal offense. Federal law requires executive branch political appointees to file financial disclosures within 30 days of starting.

Staffers can get 90-day extensions to file disclosures, but Chmielewski was never granted such an extension, EPA officials said. In fact, the whistleblower is still obligated to do so even though he left EPA in March.

You alleged Pruitt paid leases for loaned Smithsonian Institute art when no such arrangement exists. Why?

Chmielewski told Democratic lawmakers that EPA was “paying leases for art on loan from the Smithsonian Institution” to furnish Pruitt’s office. It was one of a laundry list of accusations Chmielewski leveled against Pruitt.

However, the Smithsonian Institution’s chief spokeswoman told The New Republic they “do not charge” for artwork on loan.

Pruitt has three paintings on loan from the Smithsonian: portraits of James Monroe and John Marshall and an 1854 landscape painting by William Louis Sonntag.

You claimed Pruitt’s head of security personally entered into a $30,000 contract with Italian security, despite that official not having the authority to do that. Why?

Chmielewski told Democrats “a $30,000 contract with private Italian security personnel entered into by Mr. [Pasquele] Nino Perrotta,” ahead of Pruitt’s attendance of a G7 summit in Italy.

But two sources familiar with Pruitt’s security arrangement said Perrotta, the special agent in charge of the security detail, had no authority to enter into such a contract on his own.

The “special agent in charge has no authority to make purchase agreements or authorize people to make purchases,” one source told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Perrotta would need approval from higher-ups in the agency, sources said.

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