Michael Bastasch reports: Want to earn money while on vacation? Go work for the Environmental Protection Agency, which paid eight employees more than $1 million while they were on administrative leave, in some cases for years, according to a government watchdog report.
“EPA claimed that John Beale’s fraud was an anomaly, but EPA has allowed a number of employees to waste millions of taxpayer dollars in the last few years through lax internal controls and substandard management.”
The EPA’s inspector general found that “eight employees totaled 20,926 hours and cost the government an estimated $1,096,868” while on paid leave. Each employee “was on extended administrative leave for four or more months,” the IG reported, adding that “four of the eight employees” were on leave for more than a year.
Not only that, the employees who took huge amounts of leave time also got automatic raises — despite their being paid to do no work.
“The EPA’s major time and attendance issues and management failures are no longer surprising, just pathetic. Reforming their policy will be top of our agenda with the new conservative majority.”
— Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter
The EPA IG’s report comes after an October 2014 Government Accountability Office report that estimated the “salary cost for EPA employees on administrative leave for fiscal years (FYs) 2011 through 2013 was $17,550,100.” GAO found that 69 EPA employees used a month or more of administrative leave — 50 of these employees were on leave for more than three months and two were on leave for over a year. These 69 agency employees took 4,711 days of leave from 2011 to 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
Rand Paul introduces constitutional amendment to make all laws equally applicable to citizens and CongressPosted: October 22, 2013
The Kentucky freshman Republican has introduced a constitutional amendment that would preclude senators and representatives from passing laws that don’t apply equally to U.S. citizens and Congress, the executive branch and the Supreme Court. The amendment is aimed squarely at Obamacare provisions specific to members of Congress and their staffs that became a central point of contention during the government shutdown. Read the rest of this entry »
The Senate majority leader hasn’t looked like much of a leader at all.
Andrew Stiles writes: The government shutdown that most Democrats thought would benefit them politically has not gone according to plan.
Sure, the initial polling shows that more Americans think Republicans (44 percent) are to blame than Democrats (35 percent), as most expected. But Democrats have hardly come off looking great. Reports that the Obama administration ordered the shuttering of the open-air World War II Memorial, temporarily blocking veterans from visiting, didn’t help. Top Democrats such as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz have refused to give up their paychecks during the shutdown. “Negotiations” between the two sides have descended into a war of Twitter hashtags. The White House is trolling for shutdown sob stories.
By Ann E. Marimow and Lenny Bernstein
Over the past 12 years, John C. Beale was often away from his job as a high-level staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency. He cultivated an air of mystery and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses that he was doing top-secret work, including for the CIA.
Now, Beale is charged with stealing nearly $900,000 from the EPA by receiving pay and bonuses he did not deserve. He faces up to three years in prison.