According to an eye-opening report by the EPA
's Office of Inspector General, two high-ranking Donald Trump
appointees in the EPA purposefully continued to pay two employees' salaries long after they were fired.
also found that the Trump appointees, who are no longer at the EPA, committed other fraud
, such as padding timesheets and one giving the other an improper pay increase, which cost the EPA more than $130,000, according to The Washington Post
. The fired employees received $38,000 after their termination.
Former EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson
and former White House
liaison Charles Munoz “made and used official time sheets and personnel forms that contained materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements” to facilitate continued payments to two employees after they left the agency, concluded the report, which Politico
obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
decided not to file charges based on any of the OIG's findings.
Munoz allegedly told investigators that Jackson instructed him to continue paying the first of the employees, who was fired in 2017 and whose name was redacted in the report.
According to the Post, “Mr. Munoz explained that the ‘fix,’ which he believed was Mr. Jackson’s idea, was to inform the EPA’s Human Resources Management Division that [the fired employee] was on an extended telework schedule so that [the worker] would receive pay” following their termination.
According to the report, Jackson told investigators that he arranged for the fired employee to be paid in the interim because he did not believe the termination was "fair."
According to the report, Jackson wanted to keep paying the second employee, whose name was also redacted, while he looked for work after being fired in 2018.
The names of the fired employees were revealed by The Washington Post, and one who was fired in 2018 stated that “weeks and months went by where I was still receiving a paycheck” but not working.
According to the Post, both terminated employees objected to the removal of events from then-Trump-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
's public calendar, including a dinner in Rome
with a Vatican
cardinal later charged with sexual misconduct
The findings are just the latest setback for the EPA, which has earned the moniker "Anti-Environmental Protection Agency" during the Trump administration
Pruitt resigned in the summer of 2018 after being the subject of 13 federal investigations, including inquiries into his unusual spending.
Even before Trump took office, the agency was experiencing some difficulties.
During the Obama administration, the OIG discovered in 2013 that a warehouse maintained by the agency's contractors contained secret "man cave" rooms with exercise
equipment, televisions, and couches, and the following year, EPA employees were ordered not to defecate in the hallway of an agency building in Colorado
The Washington Post's story on the latest EPA scandal can be found here, as can Politico's.