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As we noted in 2013, it is possible for an EPA “policy advisor” such as John Beale to falsify his employment record, claim that he actually works for the CIA, and maintain this ruse for 20 years while bagging fat bonuses but performing no actual work of any value. The EPA’s secret agent man cost taxpayers approximately $1 million, but as Daily Caller writer Ethan Barton shows, Beale’s caper was hardly the only secrecy going on at the powerful federal agency.
Two EPA committees “secretly control how billions of dollars are spent” and from the EPA’s annual $1 billion Superfund program “the agency has accumulated nearly $6.8 billion in more than 1,300 slush fund-like accounts since 1990.” The EPA’s National Risk-Based Priority Panel and the Superfund Special Accounts Senior Management Committee “meet behind closed doors twice annually” and “all reports to and from the groups, as well as the minutes of their meetings and all other details, are kept behind closed doors.” The EPA has collected $6.3 billion in approximately 1,308 special accounts from lawsuits and settlements but it is “nearly impossible to determine where the estimated $3.3 billion spent so far went, or who will get the remaining $3.5 billion (after adding interest).” Reporters with the Daily Caller News Foundation were able to secure some documents but they were marked “privileged” and “could only be reviewed under EPA supervision.” That does not exactly amount to accountability.
Taxpayers may recall that last August EPA contractors released three million gallons of contaminated wastewater into the Animas River. This unleashed 880,000 pounds of lead, arsenic and other toxic materials for dozens of miles through southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico. The EPA’s alleged vigilance also did nothing to prevent the Flint water crisis but despite both disasters EPA boss Gina McCarthy kept her job. And as recent congressional hearings revealed, little has changed since the days of John Beale.
The EPA suspended a sex offender in 2006 but did not fire him until he violated probation in 2014. The sex offender’s termination was overturned and the EPA paid him $55,000 to resign. This is a federal agency, as an inspector general testified in the Beale case, with “an absence of even basic internal controls” and unaccountable to the people.