EPA Almost Got Away With Spending $52 Million in Unauthorized Tax Dollars

EPA Almost Got Away With Spending $52 Million in Unauthorized Tax Dollars

(UnitedVoice.com) – Every year, Congress creates a massive federal budget bloated with pork and all kinds of unnecessary spending. If that’s not bad enough, some bureaucrats appear to be taking it to the next level. On Wednesday, March 10, a 47-page investigator general (IG) report revealed that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke numerous rules and regulations by spending millions of dollars in authorized contracts between 2017 and 2019.

Americans are losing faith in the politicians, but now, they might be losing faith in government institutions altogether thanks to those inside the government who feel empowered to do whatever they want without consequences. The EPA is just the latest example.

What Did the IG Conclude?

The IG is a government watchdog department created by Congress to deter federal agencies and employees from bad actions and decisions. Its role is to investigate complaints and allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse by federal government employees or contractors.

According to the report, the IG began an investigation into the EPA after a hotline complaint alleged the massive federal agency was conducting “contract and bidding irregularities with three major information technology contracts.” According to the complaint, the EPA allegedly purchased 23 pieces of IT equipment and software before the expiration of a contract with a Canadian IT company.

The purchase was made outside of the scope of the existing contract. Making matters worse, the items were never used for the intended purpose of the contract. In an apparent attempt to circumvent the problem, the EPA illegally solicited bids for new contracts and transferred the equipment under the new umbrella.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. Someone decided to create task orders that were not approved by the agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) as required by law in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). A task order is an adaptable contract used when a government agency needs the flexibility to agree to a contract when the exact requirements or needs are unknown.

In total, the IG report said the agency spent “$52.5 million in taxpayer in taxpayer funds without proper approvals.”

No Consequences in Report or EPA Response

The IG report did not make a recommendation regarding any consequences for the employee or contractor. However, the EPA said the agency would make changes to internal controls, reinforce purchasing policies, recover the money for unauthorized purchases and potentially terminate the contracts, among other recommendations.

The moral of the story is that wrongdoing doesn’t come with significant consequences if you’re a federal employee. Unlike civilian workers, it’s a complicated process to fire a federal government employee. Supervisors must provide documentation of due process, among other rights, that makes the process tedious and unproductive.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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