What does it take to get fired from the Environmental Protection Agency?

After California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa grilled senior EPA officials in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, I wonder if it’s even possible.

In the hearing, senior EPA officials admitted employees regularly filed false federal documents and lied to their bosses.  EPA employees could put on a clinic on how to waste tax payer money…. well, if they were competent enough to put on a clinic about anything.

According to The Daily Caller, our tax dollars put bread on the tables of one employee who watched pornography on the job — including four straight hours of porn called “Sadism is Beautiful.”  In fact, he had 7,000 files of porn on his computer, which he watched every day for two to six hours since 2010.

The Office of Administration’s director Renee Page sold weight loss pills and jewelry from her office during work, using her EPA e-mail address. She also hired seventeen friends and family members and even paid her own daughter from her agency’s budget.

Not only did they not get fired, in some cases they actually got six figure salaries and huge bonuses. The weight loss pill pusher/jewelry seller received a $35,000 cash award and received the Presidential Rank Award.

This, of course, is par for the course for the EPA.  Remember the “million dollar con man” John C. Beale, who was the agency’s highest-paid employee and their leading expert on climate change?  He somehow convinced his bosses he was a CIA operative whose confidential work required him to travel around the globe.  Though he claimed to be in exotic locations, he basically just stayed at home, once for an 18 month period. The entire time, he was paid his salary – including bonuses — while doing absolutely nothing.

These are quite sobering details for taxpayers.

At the hearing, Issa pressed to find out whether the employees’ conduct was illegal.  He wasn’t just talking about the porn habit or the jewelry sales, but about how the employees falsified documents claiming they were working when they were obviously not working.

“Yes, it is illegal,” writes Ian Murray, “but Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe admitted that he had not been fired and confirmed that he was still being paid over $120,000 a year and in addition had received performance awards in cash. One hesitates to ask what performance was being rewarded.”

Murray writes:

It should be noted that many of the recent scandals at the EPA involve senior staff. Al Armendariz, who boasted of randomly “crucifying” businesses, was the head of the EPA office in Dallas. Perciasepe is the No. 2 guy at the entire agency. Page was the director of a major division.

This is obviously not the way a government department should be run. A responsible head of the Executive Branch would at the very least have ordered a full, independent investigation of the way the EPA runs, and should probably have ordered mass firings. Instead, the EPA and its senior staff continue operating as judge, jury, and executioner, to quote one Democratic congressman, over large swathes of American industry. Vast power, vast discretion, and a lack of accountability add up to one thing — the corruption of the public-service ethos we see at work nowhere more clearly than at the EPA.

About The Author

Mark Meckler
President

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.