- Two fired EPA employees received close to $38,000 in payments after they were forced out.
- The payments were approved and carried out by two Trump-appointed officials, Politico reported.
- The revelation was found in an inspector general report obtained by Politico via an FOIA request.
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Environmental Protection Agency officials appointed by former President Donald Trump kept two fired agency employees on the government payroll after they were ousted, Politico reported.
The revelation comes from a March report by the agency's inspector general that Politico obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report said chief of staff Ryan Jackson directed former White House liaison Charles Munoz, to authorize almost $38,000 in improper payments for the two former staffers — one of whom had been fired, and the other forced out after refusing to resign, according to Politico.
The identities of the two former staffers. who were improperly paid was redacted in the report. The first individual was fired in 2017 and Munoz told investigators Jackson ordered him to make sure the person was still getting paid after they were ousted, the report said.
Munoz said Jackson told him to tell human resources the individual was working remotely which, according to the report, was meant to ensure the fired employee would keep getting paid.
“Mr. Munoz explained that he believed Mr. Jackson would not be happy if he had not followed Mr. Jackson's order to get additional pay for [the person] after [their] termination,” the inspector general's report said according to Politico, which indicated this person got more than $14,000 in improper payments.
The second individual was asked to resign, and when they didn't, an armed guard led them out of the building, Politico reported. Jackson said he didn't want to have this individual have a “break in service” while looking for another job. That individual got close to $24,000 in improper payments, the inspector general's report said according to Politico.
Both Jackson and Munoz have left the EPA and federal prosecutors had declined to press charges against them over the findings in the inspector general's report, Politico reported.
The report also zeroed in on Munoz himself, saying he received an improper raise and submitted “fraudulent timesheets,” which cost the agency almost $96,000.
The EPA has been embroiled in controversies throughout the Trump presidency. In July 2018, Trump-appointed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned following a number of scandals. At the time of his resignation, Pruitt was the subject of at least 13 federal investigations. The investigations were looking into his habits at the agency, including those related to his frequent first-class flights and copious spending on personal security.
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