One EPA employee spent up to six hours a day looking at pornography while on the job, and another employee has been allowed to work from home for years but had little to show for it, according to an ongoing internal investigation that the agency’s inspector general will detail to Congress on Wednesday.
The revelations show that time and attendance fraud at the Environmental Protection Agency goes beyond John Beale — the former top official who collected nearly $900,000 in salary and bonuses for time worked when he was pretending to be on secret CIA spy missions.
The pornography case has been referred to the Justice Department. Investigators said they uncovered 7,000 pornographic images on a government server.
“When an OIG special agent arrived at this employee’s work space to conduct an interview, the special agent witnessed the employee actively viewing pornography on his government-issued computer,” Allan Williams, deputy inspector general for the EPA, said in prepared remarks he will deliver Wednesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In the case of the EPA employee working from home, the inspector general said even though there was little evidence of productivity, a manager awarded exemplary performance reviews that resulted in cash bonuses.
In another example documented by the inspector general, an executive unable to do work for at least the past year because of health problems has continued drawing a full salary without doing any substantive work.
“These examples are just a few of the OIG’s employee misconduct cases at the EPA,” Mr. Williams said.
EPA isn’t the only agency to be embarrassed by porn-snooping employees. Similar scandals have surfaced at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Science Foundation, among other agencies.
Alisha Johnson, an EPA spokeswoman, said the agency supports the work of its independent inspector general into employee misconduct. She said the EPA is conducting its own review to find out how the employee managed to look up so much pornography in the federal workplace, where IT security typically flags visits to illicit websites.
Lawmakers also will hear Wednesday from Patrick Sullivan, the EPA assistant inspector general for investigations, who said in prepared remarks that the watchdog office is being impeded from investigating misconduct by EPA’s Office of Homeland Security.
The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that when top EPA officials began questioning Mr. Beale’s extended absences, they turned to EPA’s homeland security office months before referring the case to the inspector general.
And while the inspector general says the homeland security office has no law enforcement authority, it has its own special agent who has collected employee emails and conducted interviews, according to testimony.