Can the Environmental Protection Agency be trusted with Americans’ tax dollars?
Last August, former EPA employee John Beale was charged with stealing $900,000 in taxpayer dollars and for pretending to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. A report by the free-market Institute for Energy Research argues that the Beale incident raises questions about the EPA’s ability to deal with fraud and oversee their employees.
“John Beale may be in jail for his crimes, but this case is certainly not closed,” said Thomas Pyle, IER’s president. “Until EPA regains the trust of the American public that suspected fraud will be reported, investigated, and addressed by senior EPA officials, there is little reason to believe that the agency won’t continue to callously abuse taxpayer dollars.”
John Beale began working at the EPA in the late 1980s for the agency’s air quality office where he worked on several big projects, including drafting amendments to the Clean Air Act under President Bush which led to major reform in 1990. But Beale also worked on international issues and was eventually given lots of autonomy because of his seniority at EPA.
IER’s report notes that while Beale’s theft of taxpayer dollars took place over a 13-year period, the largest amount of money was stolen from taxpayers while he was working under EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, who at the time was head of the air quality office — where Beale worked.
Under McCarthy’s watch Beale was able to steal $373,799 from taxpayers. This amount includes money stolen by Beale for times he skipped out from work and for illegal retention bonuses he got. In a 13-year period, Beale stole $886,186 from taxpayers in time and attendance fraud, retention incentives, fraudulent billing and parking fraud.
Between 2000 and 2012, Beale skipped work for at least 616 days. But his fraud wasn’t discovered until last year when it was found out that he was still getting paid for a year and a half but hadn’t shown up for work in that whole time. Under McCarthy, Beale missed at least 18 consecutive months of work, costing taxpayers more than $239,000.
Furthermore, Beale was one of the agency’s highest paid employees and was receiving compensation that exceeded statutory limits.
“At a time when EPA is expanding its regulatory reach into new sectors of the American economy, and going full steam ahead in implementing President Obama’s economically destructive Climate Action Plan, public trust in the agency has eroded to a historic low,” Pyle said. “The public deserves nothing less than the complete record of John Beale’s fraud and the actions taken — or not taken — by his supervisors and colleagues to expose his crimes.”
In December, Beale was sentenced to 32 months in jail and forced to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture. Of course, this came after the EPA’s inspector general issued a report shortly before Beale’s sentencing which said that a “lack of internal controls” allowed for this sort of fraud to take place.
The EPA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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