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Recent headlines about the Environmental Protection Agency focused on its research projects that targets propane barbecues and hotel showers.
Such examples of bureaucratic overreach are examples of an agency that has too much money and exposes the inability of Congress to control its budget.
Unfortunately, for the taxpayer, in addition to bureaucratic creep the EPA is plagued with gross mismanagement resulting in its staff engaging in illegal behavior.
Fraud, sexual harassment and porn watching are recent examples of an EPA bureaucracy gone wild.
In 2013, former high ranking agency bureaucrat John Beale was sentenced to serve 32 months in jail for stealing about $900,000. Over the course of about 10 years, Beale pretended to be working undercover assignments for the CIA and racked up travel expenses, salary and bonuses while failing to execute agency responsibilities.
EPA management also ignored sexual harassment charges against the head of EPA’s Office of Homeland Security. A recent Congressional hearing reviewed an inspector general report that investigated sexual harassment and pornography at the EPA.
The latest case involves Peter Jutro, who was named to lead the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security last year even though an inspector general’s report said senior officials were aware of multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him.
The IG’s office told the Oversight Committee Thursday that Jutro “engaged in conduct and exchanges considered to be unwelcome” with at least 17 women, including a 21-year-old intern at the Smithsonian Institution. The IG’s report said Jutro made sexually suggestive comments and engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least 16 women from 2004 to July 2014. Behavior cited included unwelcome touching, hugging, kissing and photographing of women.
The IG official stated that the failure of EPA management to address the sexual harassment case in a timely fashion allowed six more women to be harassed at the agency.
Finally, a number of EPA employees were caught watching pornography at work using government computers. One individual was found to have been watching child pornography and was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.