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Eye on the EPA: Bob Perciasepe’s Role in John Beale Saga
February 5, 2014

In an effort to further inform the public on how convicted felon and former senior official of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), John Beale, got away with fraud and theft for at least thirteen years, EPW Republicans have conducted an exhaustive review of materials obtained through its own investigatory efforts to untangle the web of unaccountability that permeated the Agency.  Former EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe supervised Beale in the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), serving as a strong advocate for Beale's promotions and bonuses.

Perciasepe's Relationship with Beale

In 1998, Perciasepe was appointed to serve as the Assistant Administrator (AA) for OAR, at which point he worked with and supervised John Beale.  According to documents obtained by EPW Republicans, Beale's long-term personal assistant recalled that then-AA Perciasepe often had closed-door meetings with Beale. During a recent Congressional hearing after Beale's fraud was exposed, Perciasepe said, "It's painful for me to go through this. But this was a person who had a reputation-a positive reputation in the federal government, both inside EPA and outside EPA in that time period."[1]

As Beale's supervisor, Perciasepe provided the final approval for the reauthorization of Beale's Retention Incentive Bonus in June 2000.[2]  According to the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), this bonus provided Beale an annual 25% raise that should have expired in 2003, but continued uninterrupted until 2013, eventually allowing Beale to accrue nearly $500,000 in excess pay.[3]  In August 2000, Perciasepe approved Beale's promotion to Senior Leader, a position equivalent to Senior Executive Service, which exponentially increased Beale's salary and placed him directly under Perciasepe's supervision.  Perciasepe was an advocate for that promotion according to Beale who said, "In the '98 - '99 time period there were discussions about a promotion for me, and Bob Perciasepe and then Administrator Carol Browner, and we had a number of discussions and go-arounds about that."[4]

Problems with the Retention Bonus

As the OIG has reported, Beale received improper payments as a result of the bonus Perciasepe authorized in 2000.[5]  According to Perciasepe, the problem with the bonus was the failure to stop the bonuses, not the original authorization.[6]  Perciasepe reaffirmed this point, by saying:

"The problem is not in the original rationale for that back in the '90s. The problem is that it kept getting re-certified without any re-certification process. So it went on through the time period that, I think, the Inspector General was talking about, so the issue was that when he was at work and not at work or not during the initial granting of the retention."[7]

However, evidence has emerged that suggests there were serious flaws with the bonus Perciasepe authorized in 2000.  According to the OIG, "A written offer is not required although most packages do have a written offer attached.  What is required, the supervisor recommending the incentive bonus has to assert that he or she did due diligence to confirm there was an offer."[8]  In the case of Beale's bonus application in 2000, Perciasepe's due diligence should have included taking steps to confirm - preferably in writing - that Beale had, in fact, received an outside offer of employment, which was the catalyst and principal motivation behind Beale's retention bonus.  The OIG has confirmed that no such documentation from Perciasepe exists,[9] and Beale has conceded he had not received any written offer of employment to justify the bonus in 2000.[10] Additionally, Beale has stated under oath that he could not recall Robert Brenner, Deputy Assistant Administrator to the Office of Air and Radiation, or Perciasepe, his two supervisors at the time, asking him for either a phone number or a written letter to confirm that he had a tangible offer.[11]

In addition to a lack of due diligence, it appears there is a material falsehood contained within the application itself.  By signing the document, both Perciasepe and Brenner affirmed that Beale had not received previous bonuses.[12]  Brenner, having been the previous requestor of Beale's 1991 bonus, knew this statement was untrue, but Perciasepe has publicly maintained that he "had no knowledge of any previous [bonus] at this particular moment."[13] The penalty for forging or falsifying official government records or documents carries ranges from written reprimand to removal.[14]  While evidence suggests that a document was falsified knowingly, this has not been investigated and thus far, no one at EPA has been held accountable.

EPW Republicans have obtained documents, which reveal Perciasepe's involvement in not ending Beale's retention bonus, long after it was first signed in 2000. A December 15, 2010, email to an official in the Office of Administration and Resource Management (OARM) states:

RE: the OAR employee we've discussed who is receiving the retention bonus, I understand that you may not yet have all the information needed to address past overpayments.  I'm writing to ask not about the corrections but about 2011. Specifically, I would like to intervene with the AA now to prevent the bonus from taking effect in 2011. I do not expect the AA to support continuation and in any event the employee has not produced any bona fide offer that I'm aware of. I have not spoken to the AA about this. What do I need to do to stop the bonus?[15] (emphasis added)

To which the OARM official replied on February 1, 2011:

I checked with Karen Higginbotham, ERD Director, and she said that Craig Hooks [Assistant Administrator of OARM] asked to meet with Kim Lewis, [Office of Human Resources] Director, on this matter and Karen provided Kim with info from my briefing document. Since Bob P. signed the last retention bonus memo, it is Karen's understanding  that Craig was going to speak with him about this employee before advising OAR.[16] (emphasis added)

This email was followed by a note in an OAR official's memorandum dated February 9, 2011, stating "I'm waiting for OARM to tell me it's OK for Gina [McCarthy] to sign the memo to end the incentive."[17]  These emails reveal that EPA staff waited to clear the matter with Perciasepe before advising Gina McCarthy, then-Assistant Administrator for OAR and Beale's supervisor, to take corrective action.

Beale's retention bonus continued for two more years before it was finally ended.[18]

Inconsistencies on Beale's CIA Cover

New information regarding when Perciasepe learned about Beale's CIA cover story contradicts the timeline of when McCarthy reported her suspicions of Beale to the OIG, which was supposedly as soon as she was aware that there was a problem.[19]  According to OIG, "The first executive that ever questioned him working for the CIA was in fact Gina McCarthy. Beyond her suspicions, everyone else we interviewed flat-out believed he worked for the CIA."[20]  Perciasepe echoed this narrative in 2013, stating that he first heard about Beale's claim to be a CIA agent in mid-2012 - around the same time McCarthy first became suspicious.[21] 

Meadows:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Perciasepe, I'm intrigue by your testimony because you said earlier that Mr. Beale never represented to you that he worked for the CIA. So is that to follow up that you were-you never heard of him working for the CIA? Because there's a difference.  Right, when this unfolded.

Perciasepe: Right, when this unfolded.

Meadows: Before it unfolded. Had you ever heard of that because-so no one ever shared what he was doing?

Perciasepe: No, I didn't see Mr. Beale for 13 years. I don't know what went on from 2001 to -- 2000 till I came back to the agency.

However, according to documents obtained by EPW Republicans, Perciasepe informed EPA OIG that he first became aware of problems with Beale in 2011, when McCarthy and Hooks came to him asking whether Beale worked for the CIA.  At that time, Perciasepe informed both of them that "there are no CIA employees working for EPA, so it was important to find out."  Additionally, Perciasepe viewed Beale's conflicting status as a CIA operative to be a Human Resources and Personnel matter, which influenced decisions down the line of who would be responsible to follow-up and confirm.

Perciasepe's Tenure

During the height of Beale's fraud, Perciasepe has been in the unique position to shine a light on Beale's activities and act on the concerns that were brought to his attention.  Instead, he has publicly shared a confusing narrative of what he knew and when he knew it, while simultaneously commending McCarthy for being the one to first question Beale's outrageous claims.[22] 

This body of evidence questions Perciasepe's leadership and management at EPA, as shown through his years of deflecting responsibility and failing to be alert and diligent as Beale's supervisor, even when the inconsistencies in Beale's story became clearly evident.



[1] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 73 (2013) (Testimony of Hon. Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[2] Memorandum from Bob Perciasepe, Assist. Adm'r, Office of Air & Radiation to Romulo Diaz, Assist. Adm'r, Office of Admin. & Res. Mgmt. 1-2 (June 22, 2000).

[3] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 2 (2013) (Written Testimony of Patrick Sullivan, Assist. Inspector Gen. for Investigations, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[4] Beale Dep.39:20-40:1 Dec. 19, 2013.

[5] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 2 (2013) (Written Testimony of Patrick Sullivan, Assist. Inspector Gen. for Investigations, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[6] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 74 (2013) (Testimony of Hon. Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[7] Id. at 51.

[8] Id. at 69 (Testimony of Patrick Sullivan, Assist. Inspector Gen. for Investigations, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[9] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 2 (2013) (Written Testimony of Patrick Sullivan, Assist. Inspector Gen. for Investigations, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[10] Beale Dep. 38:12-38:15.

[11] Beale Dep.38:3-39:3.

[12] Memorandum from Bob Perciasepe, Assist. Adm'r, Office of Air & Radiation to Romulo Diaz, Assist. Adm'r, Office of Admin. & Res. Mgmt. 1-2 (June 22, 2000).

[13] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 73 (2013) (Testimony of Hon. Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[14] Internal Memorandum, Envtl. Prot. Agency, EPA Conduct and Discipline Manual 17.

[15] E-mail from Scott Monroe, Dir. Human Res. Office of Air and Radiation, Envtl. Prot. Agency to Susan Smith, Envtl. Prot. Agency (Dec. 15, 2010 11:58 AM).

[16] E-mail from Susan Smith, Envtl. Prot. Agency, to Scott Monroe, Dir. Human Res. Office of Air & Radiation, Envtl. Prot. Agency (Feb. 1, 2011 01:50 PM).

[17] Memorandum from Scott Monroe, Dir. Human Res., Office of Air and Radiation, Envtl. Prot. Agency, to Margaret Guerriero, Human Res., Office of Air and Radiation, Envtl. Prot. Agency (Feb. 9, 2011).

[18] Office of Inspector Gen., Envtl. Prot. Agency, Report No. 14-P-0036, Early Warning Report: Internal Controls and Mgmt Actions Concerning John C. Beale Pay Issues, 18 (Dec. 11, 2013).

[19] The IG states that McCarthy notified the OIG on February 11, 2013; See Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 5 (2013) (Written Testimony of Hon. Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., Inspector Gen., Envtl. Prot. Agency) (discussing the timeline for when McCarthy notified the OIG).

[20] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 45 (2013) (Testimony of Patrick Sullivan, Assist. Inspector Gen. for Investigations).

[21] Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA's IG Investigation of John Beale Before the H. Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong. 45 (2013) (Testimony of Hon. Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency).

[22] E-mail from Bob Perciasepe, Assist. Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency, to Bob Perciasepe, Assist. Adm'r, Envtl. Prot. Agency (Dec. 20, 2013 4:28 PM).





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