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Issa: EPA ‘Truly a Broken Agency’ with ‘Intolerable’ Staff Woes

One porn-addicted official who downloads on government computers still hasn't been fired.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

Bio

May 10, 2014 - 11:26 pm
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WASHINGTON – A House panel on Wednesday investigated accusations of assault, online pornography viewing, and other alleged instances of workplace misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Office of  Inspector General (OIG) – the official watchdog tasked with overseeing the agency – is accusing EPA’s Office of Homeland Security (OHS) of impeding its independent investigations into employee misconduct, computer security, and external threats.

The small office of about 10 employees is overseen by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s office.

The dispute between the OIG and OHS came to a climax last year as House Republicans investigated the EPA’s handling of John C. Beale – a former deputy assistant administrator who pleaded guilty in federal court last fall of defrauding the agency out of nearly $1 million between 2000 and 2013 in unearned pay and bonuses. OHS initially investigated Beale, who falsely claimed he was working undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency to explain his absences, before the inspector general’s office was made aware of it several months later.

Patrick Sullivan, assistant inspector general, said OHS has refused to share information, citing national security concerns.

“Under the heavy cloak of ‘national security,’ the Office of Homeland Security has repeatedly rebuffed and refused to cooperate with OIG’s ongoing requests for information or cooperation,” Sullivan testified before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. “This block unquestionably has hamstrung the Office of Inspector General’s ability to carry out its statutory mandate to investigate wrongdoing of EPA employees.”

He said OHS has also failed to report allegations of misconduct by agency staff.

“I am very concerned that vital information regarding suspected employee and contractor misconduct is being withheld from the OIG. Because OHS continues to block my office’s access to information essential to the OIG’s work, I cannot assure the committee that we are doing everything possible to root out other ‘John Beales’ who may be at the EPA or other malfeasance of similar magnitude,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the OHS has no statutory authority to do law enforcement and investigative work, even though the office “continually has stated that there are intelligence directives and guidelines that provide it authority to withhold information from and avert oversight by OIG.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the EPA is “truly a broken agency,” adding that the employee problems have become “intolerable.”

“John Beale’s behavior did not happen in a vacuum,” Issa said. “In fact, it was just the tip of the EPA’s fraudulent iceberg.”

The panel revealed several allegations and cases of misconduct by EPA staff.

In one case, an employee received a full salary and benefits for at least one year even though he is physically unable to do any work.

In another case, an EPA manager allowed an employee with a debilitating disease to stay home and not report for work for several years. For the past five years she allegedly produced no work, though she was paid roughly $600,000.

Another EPA employee hired 17 of her family members and friends as paid interns. She also paid her daughter – who also works for the agency – a cash bonus out of her agency’s budget account.

Allan Williams, EPA’s deputy assistant inspector general for investigations, said an EPA employee downloaded more than 7,000 pornographic files onto a government computer.

Top Rated Comments   
Just from the computer access standpoint, why doesn't the entire federal government adopt DoD standards regarding computer access?
(1) Access a porn site from a DoD computer and you will get caught by the network administrator. Repercussions may not happen within minutes, but after the sysadmins' weekly review, the person has some explaining to do.
(2) DoD unclassified networks will not let you access commercial email sites, period (gmail, yahoo, etc.).
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then they wonder why we conservatives are demanding smaller government. Who is managing these agencies? How did government unions penetrate these organizations and eliminate the ability to fire at will or discipline these clowns? When was the last time ANY government worker was fired?

Citizens are supposed to feel comfort that Issa and these other idiots keep having "oversight" hearings but nothing ever gets done or changed. Just a bunch of windbags on the right questioning another windbag who apparently is operating by rules that the first windbag knows nothing about. Lets get to the heart of this problem and have hearings on how to dismantle the federal unions and their work rules. Then start eliminating these agencies that do nothing except take up space, watch porn and when they have some free time go to conferences or worse start terrorizing ordinary hard working tax payers. These chumps should be fired by god. I am tired of these hearings. I want these b tards fired and now.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
if the agency's purpose is to :

waste money and resources
employ otherwise unemployable people
terrorize and penalize the general populace that funds it
perpetuate the fraud that government really cares about "people" or "environment"

then SUCCESS!

but otherwise almost ALL government agencies are broken and need to be dismantled.

10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Congress. Stop funding tyranny. Now.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know 2 very hard working women who currently work at EPA & because it's not in their nature to be "politically connected", they are ALWAYS discriminated against. I won't reveal their hair-raising stories because the specific details would point to who they are (within the EPA) & I fully EXPECT there are EPA "spies" monitoring this site. What I will comment on & will gladly bring to Issa's attention is the fraudulent activity surrounding the EPA Region 7 office's move from Downtown Kansas City, KS (KC, K) to suburban Johnson County, KS (JoCo). This move took place ONLY for the convenience of the Executive's (GS-14 & above) who can afford to live in one of the most expensive (exclusive, snobby, elite) suburbs in the country. NONE of the "worker bees" can afford to live there. This move is costing the government MORE MONEY & puts MORE POLLUTION into the environment!! RE: POLLUTION. Previously a small handful of employees (the Royalty) "commuted" from JoCo to KC, K. This more central location meant that even those who commuted from other directions didn't drive nearly as far as they do now. (A larger number of cars driving further 4 to 5 days a week = MORE pollution). There are employees who need to regularly drive to the remotely located EPA Lab (in KC, K, conveniently right on the pollution infested MO River). The drive from JoCo is probably 30 to 45 minutes (depending on traffic) vs. the previous drive of around 5 to 10 minutes. There are MANY trips to D.C., by the Royalty, some for the worker bees (i.e. training classes) & also trips to the state offices in the region, such as Lincoln, NE. ALL these trips require a car (polluting the air) to get to KCI Airport, driving SIGNIFICANTLY further than the trip from KC, K to KCI. ALL they would have had to do is "apply some math" to figure where is the "environmental sweet spot" & locate their offices there. EX: Everyone's zip code to the office zip code = how many miles + zip code of the office to the Lab "X" # of trips to the Lab's zip code + home (or office, depending on flight time) zip code of all "travelers" to KCI zip code & times 2 = the total miles for travel = the agencies "carbon footprint". Lunchtime travel...EVERYONE has to either get into their cars & drive out to a restaurant, or have something delivered, excepting those few who bring their lunch. In KC, K their were a few places they could walk to...not so out in the 'burbs....(more carbon footprint). God forbid they could have moved to Downtown KC, MO, where there are TONS of restaurants within walking distance AND they would have been near the Main Federal Building for Region 7, (more on that in the COST) section. Is it just me or should we AT LEAST expect the one government agency concerned with the environment...to " walk their talk"? RE: COST. They "cooked the books " on how the new office space costs less. They did this by cutting each of the "worker bee's" space by 1/2. This creates such a small space it is un-useable. So, after the move, they just rented more space 'cause oops, we made a mistake & now with the actual amount of space needed, their rent IS higher than it was in KC, K!! The cost of to/from KCI airport transit, (town car, Super Shuttle, mileage for personal car use) is higher because of the far greater distance to/from the JoCo office vs. the KC, K office. The REALLY BIG cost savings factor that was NEVER considered is that NOT ONE property owner In the State of MO was ALLOWED to bid on this fat government contract!! It was PRE-ORDAINED to go to a KS property owner & when they "cooked the books", it went to the property owner in far suburban Lenexa, KS. I don't know this but I HIGHLY suspect that this property owner was/is a "crony" of sone big time KS politician. WHY would I expect this? Because Bob Dole was instrumental in getting the EPA moved from safe Downtown KC, MO around 22 years ago to (then) crime-infested KC, K (I think it's been cleaned up since, but when they first moved from KC, MO to KC, K, there was a woman who'd been on the job just 2 weeks who was raped in the parking lot & promptly quit. So they hired 2 security guards, one for inside the parking lot & 1 for inside the building...so there went the cost savings on that move)!! In the "I told you so" dept. ALL the women told them they were afraid to work over there & that they felt safe in KC, MO, but that doesn't count when it's just "worker bees" against politicians. RE: "WORKER BEES". This move is costing the "Worker Bees" aka the Middle Class employees SIGNIFICANTLY more in gas, car repair, & TIME on extraordinarily LONG commutes, plus having to drive to all the lunch restaurants. Due to the freeway layout & the relatively equal distances from ALL suburbs to Downtown K.C. MO it is the PERFECT location for this office. The Obama Administration approved this move CLEARLY pointing out that they performed ZERO "due diligence" on the 1) Environmental Impact
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the EPA needs an Office of Homeland Security because? Are they afraid that we Americans might take exception to some of their shenanigans?

I agree with those who want the EPA gone. It like the Dept. of Education and some other depts. no longer serve any useful purpose other than making government bigger than it should be.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is the EPA doing that would result in the production of classified information? The EPA needs to go, it serves no legitimate purpose.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just from the computer access standpoint, why doesn't the entire federal government adopt DoD standards regarding computer access?
(1) Access a porn site from a DoD computer and you will get caught by the network administrator. Repercussions may not happen within minutes, but after the sysadmins' weekly review, the person has some explaining to do.
(2) DoD unclassified networks will not let you access commercial email sites, period (gmail, yahoo, etc.).
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
So shut it down.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then they wonder why we conservatives are demanding smaller government. Who is managing these agencies? How did government unions penetrate these organizations and eliminate the ability to fire at will or discipline these clowns? When was the last time ANY government worker was fired?

Citizens are supposed to feel comfort that Issa and these other idiots keep having "oversight" hearings but nothing ever gets done or changed. Just a bunch of windbags on the right questioning another windbag who apparently is operating by rules that the first windbag knows nothing about. Lets get to the heart of this problem and have hearings on how to dismantle the federal unions and their work rules. Then start eliminating these agencies that do nothing except take up space, watch porn and when they have some free time go to conferences or worse start terrorizing ordinary hard working tax payers. These chumps should be fired by god. I am tired of these hearings. I want these b tards fired and now.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, called the incident “one of the most disturbing things I’ve heard in 17 years in Congress.” SNIP

How would he react if the House decided to convene a hearing about the EPA?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
if the agency's purpose is to :

waste money and resources
employ otherwise unemployable people
terrorize and penalize the general populace that funds it
perpetuate the fraud that government really cares about "people" or "environment"

then SUCCESS!

but otherwise almost ALL government agencies are broken and need to be dismantled.

10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
The bureaucracies seriously need 5-10 yrs of intense Jack "Hatchet" Welch therapy. ..
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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