House schedules hearing on EPA management

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) head and two senators will speak Wednesday at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the agency’s “management failures.”

The committee said its hearing will focus on alleged attendance fraud, employee misconduct and obstruction of investigations at EPA. Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Pruitt’s security cost .5m in first year | Watchdog clears Perry's use of military, charter flights Pruitt spent .5 million on security during first year as EPA head Pruitt granted extension to file financial disclosure form MORE will represent EPA at the hearing.

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Republicans are trying to keep active the case of former EPA official John Beale. Beale pleaded guilty last year to stealing about $900,000 from EPA by claiming to be a CIA agent for years while skipping work and traveling.

At a hearing in May, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) detailed a list of other recent employee misconduct cases at EPA, including a worker who lived in a nursing home for years while collecting an EPA paycheck, one who ran a store out of her office and one who hired her daughter and gave her bonuses. Another EPA employee allegedly downloaded 7,000 pornographic files on his work computer. 

Wednesday’s hearing will examine those cases, along with allegations that EPA’s Office of Homeland Security blocks its Office of Inspector General from completing investigations, the committee said. The committee will also examine EPA’s actions to preemptively veto a permit for a mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Sens. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly Planned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge MORE (R-La.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation EPA extends comment period on controversial science transparency rule House easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump MORE (D-R.I.) will testify as well. Vitter is the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a strong EPA critic, while Whitehouse is a leading advocate for climate change rules.