EPA Not Required to Check Applicants Employment History

Agency has employed porn watcher, ‘poop bandit,’ fake spy

Gina McCarthy
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy / AP
February 6, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has employed a serial workplace porn watcher, a "poop bandit," and a fake CIA spy, is not required to verify the employment histories of its hires.

According to an audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), "U.S. Office of Personnel Management and EPA policies and procedures do not have a requirement to verify prior employment or references for eligible job candidates."

The audit was released in response to a request by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) to investigate the hiring policies at the EPA following revelations that former top official John C. Beale, who claimed to be a CIA agent, stole nearly $900,000 from the government.

The audit, released Thursday, examined the hiring practices of only the OIG, finding that the failure to vet applicants may lead the OIG to not hire the best candidates. The results for the full agency are expected this summer.

"According to OIG guidance, the selecting official is responsible for ensuring that references are checked prior to making final selections and for maintaining all documentation used for selection," the audit said. "However, there is no assurance that the verifications are performed and documentation is consistently maintained."

"Like the guidance for the Office of Personnel Management and EPA, the OIG guidance does not require the verification of prior employment history," it added.

The EPA has had its share of bad employees who have brought shame to the agency. Aside from Beale, a former senior policy adviser with the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation who defrauded the agency through fraudulent travel vouchers and illegal bonuses for over a decade, the EPA also kept an employee on the payroll who watched porn on the job for up to six hours a day.

The man received performance bonuses and a $120,000 salary for his work, during which he viewed more than 7,000 pornographic files. Though banned from the building, the employee was still being paid as of September.

An employee at the EPA’s Region 8 office in Denver was known as the "poop bandit." Office-wide emails circulated after the employee was "placing feces in the hallway" and clogging toilets in the bathroom.

The situation worsened last August, when the office had to boost its security following more "beyond gross" bathroom incidents, such as, "wiping feces and menstrual blood on the walls."

"They passed shame on the turnpike of life some time ago," a psychologist noted at the time. As of June, the employee had not been identified.

Another EPA senior official was recently able to retire without punishment despite an ongoing investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed more than 12 women over a decade.

"[T]he inspector general investigation had found that other senior EPA executives likely knew about the sexual harassment, but did nothing for six months," the Washington Times reported. "The result, investigators said, was that the official may have harassed six more women between January and July 2014 before finally being put on leave."

A search warrant was issued last week in Florence, Ky., to investigate an EPA contractor for accessing child pornography at work.

The man, who was a security contractor at the EPA, had "several pornographic images on his computer, including one of a girl who appeared to be younger than 10 years old," according to WLWT 5.

Published under: EPA