October 14, 2021

Rolling Stone Article Highlights the Broken Whistleblower System that has Failed Truth-Tellers Like Kevin Chmielewski 

For the first time, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Deputy Chief of Staff-turned-whistleblower, Kevin Chmielewski, shares his full whistleblowing saga.

WASHINGTON — Kevin Chmielewski, a Government Accountability Project client, became a whistleblower as the Deputy Chief of Staff to former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. Chmielewski’s whistleblowing ultimately led to Pruitt’s resignation. But while Pruitt remains a lawyer in good standing three years later, Chmielewski has watched his life fall apart. Today, Chmielewski shared his full story for the first time in Rolling Stone.

Four years ago, the White House assigned Chmielewski to keep an eye on Pruitt. Chmielewski soon witnessed a myriad of misconduct—from taxpayer-funded first class flights to soundproof phonebooths and armored SUVs—and was appalled. Afraid Pruitt’s actions could jeopardize the agency, Chmielewski made dozens of disclosures to officials spanning the EPA, the White House, and other parts of the administration. Unreported until today, Chmielewski also disclosed that Pruitt repeatedly refused to accept a classified briefing about a matter of national security.

Chmielewski suffered terrible retaliation as a result of his disclosures, losing his job and draining his savings accounts to support his family. As he told Rolling Stone, for the past three years, his family has lived paycheck-to-paycheck as he works odd jobs and his wife reentered the workforce. Blowing the whistle as a senior political appointee, Chmielewski is excluded from anti-retaliation provisions in the Whistleblower Protection Act—but Government Accountability Project filed a lawsuit against the EPA for violating his First Amendment rights. The Trump administration fought the suit and the Biden administration continues its fight.

Chmielewski’s lead counsel, Government Accountability Project’s Samantha Feinstein, said:

“Kevin has a heart of gold and a strong moral compass that makes him want to right wrongs. He did the right thing and has suffered for it. The government benefited from his information, the public benefited from his information, but he’s been left in the lurch. And our taxpayer dollars are still being spent by the government to fight his case.”

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director
Phone: 202.926.3304

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.