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The Latest: EPA staffer alleges outsized spending by Pruitt

April 12, 2018

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2017 file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Pruitt has spent millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on unprecedented security precautions that include a full-time detail of 20 armed officers, according to agency sources and documents reviewed by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on allegations of ethical violations against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will respond “through the proper channel” to lawmakers’ requests for documents related to a high-ranking political staffer’s claim that he was forced out after questioning Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel and spending.

House and Senate Democrats sent letters Thursday to President Donald Trump and Pruitt describing a meeting the lawmakers had with Kevin Chmielewski, who has been placed on involuntary, unpaid leave from his positon as EPA’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

Chmielewski, who served as a key staffer for the Trump campaign before being hired at EPA, says he faced retaliation after pushing back against the spending, which included first-class travel.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said Pruitt will respond “through the proper channel.”

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11:47 a.m.

A high-ranking political staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency has told lawmakers he faced retaliation after pushing back against outsized spending demands from Administrator Scott Pruitt and his top aides.

House and Senate Democrats sent letters Thursday to President Donald Trump and Pruitt describing a meeting they had with Kevin Chmielewski, who was recently placed on involuntary, unpaid leave from his positon as EPA’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

Chmielewski is a Republican who served as a key staffer for the Trump campaign before being hired at EPA last year to help oversee spending at the agency. He says he was forced out after questioning Pruitt’s travel and security spending, including the administrator’s use of first-class flights.

EPA’s press office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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