Hearing Wrap Up – “EPA Mismanagement Part II”

Published: Jul 29, 2015

TAKEAWAYS:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to be plagued by persistent employee misconduct.
    • John Beale, former head of the EPA office of Homeland Security, masqueraded as a covert CIA officer and is now in prison for time and attendance fraud while employed at the EPA.
    • Peter Jutro retired in disgrace after he was found to have sexually assaulted over a dozen women.
    • Dr. Paul Bertram sexually harassed a young research fellow and was permitted to retire in 2011.
  • EPA Administrator McCarthy did not treat sexual harassment allegations by an agency intern as criminal activity.
  • According to current EPA employee, Ronald Harris, there is a culture of arrogance at the agency that makes leadership “untouchable.”
  • Senior EPA leadership systematically pursued retaliatory actions against employees involved in investigating sexual harassment cases. These investigators allege that Susan Hedman, the Region 5 Administrator, was personally involved in retaliation against them.

 

PURPOSE:

  • To hear testimony from current EPA employees about alleged cases of reprisal against employees who manage sexual misconduct allegations.
  • To receive an update from EPA Administrator McCarthy on what actions have been taken to address specific and general sexual misconduct issues examined in the previous April meeting.

 

BACKGROUND:

  • In April, the Committee held a hearing examining sexual harassment incidents and the manner in which the Office of the Administrator of the EPA handled them.
  • Since then, the Committee has become aware of additional sexual harassment incidents in EPA Region 5.
  • EPA officials who investigated the allegations maintain that, as a result, they suffered reprisals and retaliation for their probes into the incidents.
  • Earlier this year, the EPA IG investigated instances of employees who were found viewing, in some cases, up to six hours per day of porn at work.

 

KEY VIDEOS:

 

Chairman Chaffetz on sexual harassment at EPA: “A predator was fed a steady diet of interns.”

 

Rep. Grothman: “(Are) personality flaws perhaps one of the reasons why we have such onerous regulations coming out of the EPA?”
Mr. Harris: “You have a culture of arrogance, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could ever see.”

 

Rep. Hice: “What are the options that a person has if they want to identify harassment or they’ve seen something that they want to report, what are the legitimate options given there is a culture of retaliation?”