Report: EPA official approved CIA impersonator John Beale expenses and pay


The headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington. The case of John C. Beale, a former high-level official at the agency, has attracted political attention. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Another high-level EPA staffer has been caught up in the John Beale CIA impersonator scandal.

Beth Craig approved fraudulent time and travel vouchers for Beale for a decade, costing the federal government $184, 193.32, according to an inspector general report obtained by the Loop.

Craig, director of Climate Protection Partnerships at the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) approved unwarranted time and expenses for agency policy adviser John C. Beale, who masqueraded as a CIA agent to steal in total $900,000 in government pay, bonuses and expenses. Beale pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

The Washington Post reported in December that there would be an investigation into a “woman of interest” for “possible administrative misconduct” related to the case.

The report by the Office of Inspector General, stamped April 17, was sent to Janet McCabe, the OAR acting administrator. It says that Craig failed to “exercise due diligence” and that it is now up to McCabe to determine what actions to take against her. An OAR official told the Loop that the agency has not yet received the documents and that, to the best of her knowledge, Craig was still employed there.

A spokeswoman for the EPA’s OIG said she could not comment on personnel related reports of investigation even to confirm whether it had reached McCabe.

The expenses Craig processed for Beale would sometimes exceed $20,000 for a single trip. In 2007, for example, Beale traveled to London, Sweden, India and Los Angeles on the taxpayer dime, charging $36,103.51.

The report also says that Craig knew that Beale claimed that he worked for the CIA and that she approved his time cards even though he was rarely at work. Beale would often tell Craig that he had to “go to Langley,” according to the report. “Craig explained that she did not ask for details regarding Beale’s CIA work and agreements because she assumed it was true and the documents existed,” the report says.

Craig is now the second EPA official to be implicated in the Beale scandal. Former EPA administrator Robert Brenner, a close friend of Beale, recommended “retention bonuses” for his friend. When he showed up at a House hearing about Beale, Brenner was eviscerated for accepting a discount Mercedes from a lobbyist.

Republicans in Congress have pointed blame for the incident at EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who was then acting administrator, for letting two years go by before taking action against Beale. McCarthy alleges that she was advised by Craig E. Hooks, head of the Office of Administration and Resource Management, not to pursue it because it was a criminal case.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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