EPA watchdog finds fired employees kept on payroll by Trump appointees

 

 

A report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated that two high ranking officials, who were political employees under the Trump administration, made arrangements to ensure that two fired employees continued to receive a salary from the federal government. These improper disbursements were made by Charles Munoz under orders from Ryan Jackson.

Jackson, the former Chief of Staff in the Trump administration, asked Charles Munoz, former White House liaison, to continue paying salaries to a couple of fired employees. According to a March report obtained by POLITICO through a request under the Freedom of Information Act, almost $38,000 was given as payments.

 

Jackson told the investigators that he had wanted to help the aides who had been fired. He had other problems with the OIG. He had also directed the appointment of an Interior official’s son-in-law at the agency, who was fired after five months for unspecified “misconduct.”

 

The OIG also calculated that Munoz received an improper raise. He also submitted “fraudulent time sheets” which cost the agency a sum of almost $96,00. He provided “false information” about his work for different pay periods between May and December 2018.

 

A redacted source said that Munoz came to the office and often left midday or by lunch. He did not return. Munoz told the investigators at the OIG that he considered that he had been working as he was available on the phone, when not in office. He had also received an improper four step raise.

 

Both Jackson and Munoz have left the EPA – Jackson left in February 2020 to become Vice President for government and political affairs at the National Mining Association and Munoz left in January 2020 after the office was taken over by the Biden administration, The federal prosecutors are not pressing charges again them. The OIG report has been given to the EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan so that he could take deemed appropriate action.

 

POLITICO received a statement from EPA spokesperson Tim Carroll which stated that the “EPA will review the report.”  When Jackson and Munoz were asked for comment on Friday, they did not respond.

Photo Gage Skidmore


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