The scandal-plagued agency that’s wasted millions to bring underserved and minority communities “environmental justice” fails to punish corrupt employees and allows them to keep their government paychecks, according to a new federal audit.
It involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which just a few years ago was investigated for dodging potential public scrutiny and possibly congressional oversight by using bogus electronic mail accounts to conduct official business. This occurred under President Obama’s first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, who dedicated tens of millions of dollars to an “environmental justice” movement that helps minority communities get green. Under the program the EPA has doled out large sums to leftwing community groups that help poor, minority and indigenous people increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization,” participate in “green jobs” training and avoid heat stroke.
Other EPA transgressions have been reported by Judicial Watch over the years, including agency funds going to groups that help illegal immigrants. In fact, JW uncovered documents that show a New Jersey nonprofit (Lazos America Unida) that advocates on behalf of the “Mexican immigrant community” and a Missouri farm workers’ group that aims to increase awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure in migrant populations were among EPA grant recipients. A few years ago the EPA gave Tijuana $93,000 to launch Mexico’s green transformation.
Earlier this year the EPA served as an inspiration for a bill introduced in Congress to curb an epidemic of federal employees watching pornography on government computers during work hours. The congressman who introduced the law disclosed that various EPA Inspector General probes have uncovered multiple cases of employees working hard at watching porn. “One EPA employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his office,” the congressman said. “The same federal employee was found to have downloaded as many as 7,000 pornographic files onto his government computer.”
With this consistent record of perpetual lapses over the years, it’s hardly surprising that this bloated agency with an annual budget of nearly $8 billion sits idly by while its workforce engages in illegal behavior. The EPA does little to discipline employees for misconduct, according to the latest report issued by the agency’s inspector general to Congress. It includes a multitude of examples in which the agency failed to take action against workers who committed wrongdoing. For instance, a senior executive simultaneously worked in a private-sector job while he was supposedly performing tasks at the EPA. Agency brass took no action for nearly a year and ultimately put the executive on “paid administrative leave,” allowing the worker to collect full pay for doing nothing.
Other cases include eight employees accused by the EPA of misconduct who are also on paid leave and have accrued around 21,000 hours at a cost of more than $1 million and two employees who got busted watching porn during work hours. Each of the porn viewers has an annual salary of $120,000 and both were placed on administrative leave for a year before they were even reprimanded, according to the audit. One of them retired with full benefits without any punishment and the other is still collecting a full government paycheck. The anecdotes go on and on. “Recent events and activities indicate a possible ‘culture of complacency’ among some supervisors at the EPA regarding time and attendance controls, employee computer usage, real property management, and taking prompt action against employees,” the report says.
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