WASHINGTON (AP) — A unit run by President Barack Obama’s political staff inside the Environmental Protection Agency operates illegally as a “rogue law enforcement agency” that has blocked independent investigations by the EPA’s inspector general for years, a top investigator says.
The assistant EPA inspector general for investigations, Patrick Sullivan, was expected to testify Wednesday before a House oversight committee about the activities of the EPA’s little-known Office of Homeland Security. The office is overseen by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s chief of staff, and the inspector general’s office is accusing it of impeding independent investigations into employee misconduct, computer security and external threats, including compelling employees involved in cases to sign non-disclosure agreements.
“Under the heavy cloak of ‘national security,’ the Office of Homeland Security has repeatedly rebuffed and refused to cooperate with the OIG’s ongoing requests for information or cooperation,” Sullivan wrote in prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press. “This block unquestionably has hamstrung the Office of Inspector General’s ability to carry out its statutory mandate to investigate wrongdoing of EPA employees.”
EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe was expected to tell Congress that the agency’s employees work cooperatively with the inspector general and support its mission, according to his prepared testimony.