The EPA was accused Wednesday of tolerating waste, fraud and “criminal conduct” in its own ranks, as a House committee hearing aired allegations of employee misconduct that have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The inspector general’s office — the official watchdog tasked with overseeing the agency — also claims it’s being blocked from doing its job by a unit within the EPA.
“I’m very concerned that vital information regarding suspected employee misconduct is being withheld from the OIG,” Patrick Sullivan, assistant inspector general, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“This is truly a broken agency,” committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said, adding that the employee problems have gotten to the point of being “intolerable.”
The committee revealed several startling allegations and cases shared by the inspector general’s office. In one case, an employee was getting paid for one or two years after moving to a retirement home, where the employee allegedly did not work. When an investigation began, the worker was simply placed on sick leave.
In another case, an employee with multiple-sclerosis was allowed to work at home for the last 20 years. However, for the past five years, she allegedly produced no work — though she was paid roughly $600,000. She retired after an investigation.