Allegations That a Political Appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency Was Exercising Control Over the Office of the Inspector General

Gao ID: AFMD-81-77 June 25, 1981

GAO was asked to investigate certain matters pertaining to a political appointee allegedly exercising control over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General's office to determine: the background and qualifications of the appointee, the background of the employee who hired the appointee, the impressions left with the Office of Inspector General personnel as to the appointee's role in their office, the types of documents the appointee had access to and whether these documents were commonly disclosed during the Inspector General's work, and the date after which the appointee no longer worked in the Inspector General's office.

The appointee was hired as a 120-day temporary Schedule C appointee to provide personal and confidential assistance to the Administrator of EPA. His background included copyright and patent law experience, service as an FBI agent, and participation in several political campaigns. He served as an advance man for the Reagan/Bush campaign and worked on the inaugural committee. He was appointed to become familiar with the agency and to determine if his abilities would be appropriate for a position in the agency. The person who appointed him was a member of the transition team in EPA prior to being named Special Assistant to the Acting Administrator. The appointee was assigned to interview officials of the Office of the Inspector General to decide who should assume the role of Acting Inspector General. At that time, there was neither an Inspector General nor a Deputy Inspector General. The appointee devoted 5 working days to the Inspector General's office, interviewing several of the staff and was briefed on ongoing audits and investigations. He then recommended that the Assistant Inspector General for Audit assume the duties of the Inspector General. He also discussed office travel fund shortages with members of the staff. Officials of the office reported that they were left with the impression that the appointee would be the next Inspector General and thus gave him data which were not commonly given to individuals outside the office. Subsequently, the appointee was reassigned to the Office of Enforcement and has not been involved in Inspector General matters since that time.

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