The Environmental Protection Agency’s highest paid employee, climate change expert John C. Beale, admitted to lying and pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits last September. Beale is scheduled for sentencing in federal court this Wednesday, December 18, 2013. He could only be facing as few as 30 months in a minimum security prison. Beale had told his supervisors he was a spy for the CIA, working in Pakistan and at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He was in fact just taking extended, government-funded vacations.
It took Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan less than a week to completely uncover the truth about Beale’s activities. For instance, Beale charged the government $266,190 for 33 plane trips between 2003 and 2011. 70 percent of those flights were first class. He apparently liked to stay in luxury hotels, which charge more than twice the government’s set per diem. His expense vouchers were approved by an EPA official who is incidentally a friend of Beale. That official’s activities are being reviewed by the Inspector General’s Office (IGO), say congressional investigators with knowledge of the report. Beale enjoyed first-class trips to London, staying in five-star hotels while billing the government for everything, including limousine rides.
Beale had been continuously collecting his government paycheck, plus bonuses and travel reimbursements, during absences which would have gotten any “highest paid” private sector employee summarily fired. In 2008, Beale failed to show up to work for six months. He told his bosses that he was integral to a multi-agency “candidate security” effort. There was also an 18-month period beginning June 2011 when Beale performed absolutely no work at the EPA, nor anywhere else. He treated the entire time as an extended, paid vacation. According to EPA documents, Beale earned more money than the agency’s administrator Gina McCarthy. An New York University graduate with a masters from Princeton, Beale pulled down $206,000 a year in salary and bonuses, making him the highest paid individual at the EPA.
There may also be a Stolen Valor charge against climate change expert John C. Beale, in addition to his other lies and fraud. He told EPA officials he was suffering from malaria, which he contracted while serving in Vietnam. That story earned him special handicap parking nearest to EPA headquarters.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have malaria and never served in Vietnam. Nor had he ever even stepped foot inside Langley, let alone have even the most tenuous of attachments to the CIA. The evidence suggests that Beale is nothing more than a greedy, pathological liar, who will say anything to anyone to forward his personal goals. He just also happens to be one of the top voices for anthropogenic causes, the climate change debate.
Beale’s final mistake seems to be when he “retired.” Several EPA officials, including McCarthy, were at his September 2011 retirement party, held on a Potomac yacht. Yet he remained on the payroll and kept drawing his enormous salary for 18 more months. In March of 2012, six months after the party, McCarthy discovered Beale was still taking paychecks and initiated a review, which was forwarded to the EPA general counsel’s office. Interestingly, the inspector general’s office was not alerted until February 2013.
It has been said that Beale’s fraud could only occur at the EPA. There seems to be an assumption that all EPA employees feel the mission is the most important goal. In truth, it appears that greed, self aggrandizement and waste can occur in any government agency, no matter how noble its name or mission statement.
Beale’s complete fabrication of a second, secret life, flies directly in the face of all those people who actually do put their lives on the line. Men like Robert Levinson, held in Iran for nearly seven years now, who worked undercover for the CIA disguised as a private businessman investigating cigarette smuggling.
What does Beale’s penchant for telling enormous lies for money over long periods of time say about the work he performed for the EPA? Did his pathological need to seem more important than he actually was leak over into his work as a climate change expert? If he could fudge and fabricate intricate stories with specific dates, times and destinations in one part of his life, what should lead anyone to believe he would not do so in another? Stories like Levinson’s only make John C. Beale’s lies and fraud seem much more heinous; particularly when they come from the EPA’s leading climate change expert.
By Ben Gaul