It's an all-too-familiar story of government incompetence, waste and fraud.
Virtually unreported until his sentencing, John Beale, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) top paid employee and its global warming expert, got 30 years last week.
He pled guilty to bilking taxpayers out of nearly $1 million by not showing up for work in a comical pattern of lies that went on for years.
For one stretch of 18 months, he did not set foot in the EPA building (named for Bill Clinton). Wow, Al Gore cannot get any respect -- the environment was kinda his thing.
When he reports to prison next year, it will mark the first federal gig for which Beale has actually shown up.
To get out of work, this front man for the Obama administration's man-made global warming narrative pretended to be a secret CIA agent. His boss, Gina McCarthy, the woman with short hair and sensible shoes who is now running the EPA, bought Beale's story for years.
Beale did not go to work, lied about being a CIA agent, billed hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent expenses to the EPA, lied about having malaria to get a handicap parking spot for a job he did not go to, and said he had been in Vietnam. All lies. Who does he think he is, a U.S. Senator from Connecticut?
My uncle used to tell folks he was in 'Nam too, but we would call him on it. Yes, he was there, but it was in 1991 and it was only to set up a sweatshop. So he was in 'Nam ... kind of.
Instead of working, Beale spent time at his vacation home on Cape Cod reading and gardening.
The Princeton-educated Beale said he fabricated those stories because of his "need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior." We all know how "risky" gardening on Cape Cod can be.
For his fine work, Mr. Beale was paid $206,000 a year plus bonuses actually awarded by the EPA. He also flew, mostly in first class, and stayed in the most expensive hotels. He once flew to London at taxpayer expense. A coach ticket would have cost $1,000. Beale's first class ticket cost us $14,000. He billed us $57,000 for trips to California to visit his parents. All were gleefully paid for by our EPA.
Beale got caught when he "retired" with an elaborate gala on a yacht. Two years later he was still drawing his EPA salary, and no one in government questioned it. How could he be getting paid and not be doing anything? How could he be drawing a check from the EPA and a check from the CIA? Why do we taxpayers still put up with this?
The EPA assured us "the agency has put in place additional safeguards to help protect against fraud and abuse related to employee time." Well that's all I need to hear; case closed. Do you know what that means? More bonuses for EPA "watchdogs."
Is it any wonder that skyrocketing regulations cost us $1.8 trillion per year, or 11.6% of GDP?
GSA administrators in a Las Vegas hotel suite drinking wine in a hot tub ... lavish IRS conventions ... a President who vacations in Hawaii and Martha's Vineyard. Does Obama ever just go home to Chicago?
Obama doubled the limo fleet to 500 to whisk his bureaucrats around D.C. but fancies himself "the green president." He has pushed for adding "environmental literacy" requirements in public schools, which presumably have given up on general literacy.
His EPA pushed for energy saving by putting lower-wattage bulbs in Washington, D.C. streetlights. To achieve his administration's desire for dimmer bulbs, I suggest screwing a few EPA administrators into the sockets.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com.