“EPA pledges cooperation in internal investigations”
Sure. After it was caught having within it a political arm of the White House that was actively preventing its IG from investigating the agency’s own activity. Because most transparent administration ever!
The Environmental Protection Agency assured Congress on Wednesday it will resolve a sensational dispute with its inspector general over allegations that an EPA office run by President Barack Obama’s top political staff interfered with independent investigations.
EPA’s deputy administrator, Bob Perciasepe, told the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that he will instruct EPA’s little-known Office of Homeland Security to seek permission to share information with the inspector general’s office.
The announcement came during a congressional hearing after a top investigator with the inspector general testified that the office, run out of the EPA administrator’s office, had for years systematically refused to share information on external threats, computer security and employee misconduct, citing national security.
The 10-person office was initially set up in 2003 by then Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to coordinate EPA activities such as hazardous materials cleanup and water contamination that can stem from terrorist attacks.
In 2012, the office signed an agreement with the FBI to be the point of contact for all investigations with a national security connection. But Patrick Sullivan, an assistant EPA inspector general for investigations, told lawmakers that national security was an excuse to keep his office in the dark on misconduct allegations.
The turf battle between the two offices is the latest under the Obama administration to question the effective independence of the government’s inspectors general, which are also political appointments but are expected to work outside any political influence.
Two weeks ago, the Homeland Security Department put its former inspector general on administrative leave after senators concluded that he was too cozy with senior DHS officials and improperly rewrote, delayed or classified some critical reports to accommodate Obama’s political appointees.
Last year, the Defense Department’s inspector general removed material from a draft report that concluded then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had improperly disclosed classified information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to a producer for the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”
The dispute between the inspector general’s office and the EPA’s homeland security office came to a head last year when Republicans in Congress investigated the agency’s handling of John C. Beale, a former deputy assistant administrator. He pleaded guilty in federal court last fall to stealing $886,186 between 2000 and April 2013, falsely claiming he was working undercover for the CIA. The Beale case was initially investigated by the homeland security office months before the IG’s office was made aware of it.
Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said EPA leadership prevents the inspector general’s office from doing its job. Issa highlighted other cases of employee misconduct inside the EPA, including one employee who confessed to spending hours viewing pornography at work and another selling jewelry and weight loss pills out of her office. Those cases are under investigation by the IG, and one has been referred to the Justice Department.
“Until (the inspector general’s office) is allowed to do their job to extent they are mandated we will never know more about John Beale and cases like that,” Issa said.
The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, characterized the issue as a jurisdictional dispute.
Ironically, and unbeknownst to him, Cummings is right: this is a jurisdictional dispute. Only the political arm of the Obama White House that has been using bogus national security claims to block the Inspector General’s investigations into misconduct (which, let’s face it, is legion under this administration, which uses the administrative apparatus to create effective law that circumvents Congress and the consent of the governed) has no actual jurisdiction over what it is they’ve been actively attempting to hide, so the “dispute” is really one sided, and the solution to the dispute is to rip out by the roots the partisan political operative organization from within the EPA’s inner sanctum.
Now, naturally, such a move is racist, and means that those who would insist upon it are for dirty air, dirty water, autism, and the like — and that they hate blacks, and are going after this political goon squad because Obama is, as Senator Rockefeller would tell us, “the wrong color.”
But that’s cool. I’m willing to take that heat — particularly if it means unmasking the inveterate corruption that this administration is awash with.