A former high-ranking EPA staffer convicted of stealing nearly $900,000 by pretending to be a CIA spy had virtually no experience, got his job with help from a college buddy, and went on to play a key role in sweeping environmental regulations, according to a report Senate Republicans released Wednesday.
Those regulations remain in place despite John C. Beale’s lack of environmental expertise, Republican investigators said, adding that they want the Environmental Protection Agency to review the work in which Beale was involved during his 24-year tenure.
The report said Beale led an “itinerant life” as a police officer and a physical therapist in California before heading to Princeton University in the 1970s. It was at Princeton, the report said, where Beale befriended Robert Brenner, who later would become the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator.
“Rather than recruit someone with the requisite experience, Brenner sought out Beale in what appears to be a decision based solely on their personal friendship rather than any experience or credentials,” said conclusions of the report by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The highest-paid employee in the EPA, Beale was a senior policy adviser earning more than $200,000 in salary and bonuses a year by the time he resigned in April 2013.
Beale is now in prison on theft charges after admitting he ditched EPA work, claiming to be a CIA spy. Republicans say the EPA should disclose the underlying science behind the regulatory decisions in which Beale took part.
EPA officials acknowledged Wednesday that agency officials in Democratic and Republican administrations were duped for years by Beale, but they defended the regulations on which he worked.