A senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General testified Wednesday that a career EPA official stored thousands of pornographic files on his government computer, and has admitted to watching porn a lot while at work, sometimes for most of his day.

“When an OIG special agent arrived at this employee’s work space to conduct an interview, the special agent witnessed the employee actively viewing pornography on his government-issued computer,” Allan Williams, deputy assistant inspector general for Investigations told the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.

EPA waste fraud OIG

Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator, EPA, defended the EPA today about charges that officials are working to thwart fraud and corruption charges at the agency. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

“Subsequently, the employee confessed to spending, on average, between two and six hours per day viewing pornography while at work.”

Williams said the Department of Justice has accepted the OIG’s request to prosecute this official, who Williams did not name because of this ongoing action.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) took Perciasepe to task for failing to take any steps to fire the porn-watching official.

Chaffetz asked how long the porn viewing has been going on, and Perciasepe said he didn’t know. Chaffetz indicated his understanding was that it has been happening since 2010, and fired at Perciasepe, “How can I know and you don’t?”

Chaffetz then asked why the official hasn’t been fired. “Fire him! What’s the question?”

Perciasepe said he was waiting for the OIG’s final report on the employee. Chaffetz then asked what Perciasepe is doing about the situation now, to which Perciasepe said he was doing nothing.

“That’s the problem!” Chaffetz shouted.

Williams offered several other examples of waste and fraud at the EPA, including one senior EPA official who helped John Beale defraud EPA of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Beale said for years that he worked for the CIA, and used that excuse to miss work and get $180,000 in travel vouchers approved.

Williams said the senior EPA official who approved these expenditures didn’t conduct the due diligence necessary. Williams said another EPA manager is involved in letting another EPA official not report to work for years, at a cost of $500,000.

The hearing was held by the Committee on the same day that the OIG office at EPA released a report saying that EPA’s Office of Homeland Security is impeding OIG’s investigations. Like other Inspector General offices, the EPA’s is technically a part of the agency, but is supposed to operate independently in order to root out fraud and waste.

But Patrick Sullivan, an assistant inspector general at OIG, said EPA is actively thwarting his office’s investigations.

“I am very concerned that vital information regarding suspected employee and contractor misconduct is being withheld from the OIG,” Sullivan said.

“Because OHS continues to block my office’s access to information essential to the OIG’s work, I cannot assure the committee that we are doing everything possible to root out other ‘John Beales’ who may be at the EPA or other malfeasance of similar magnitude.”

Specifically, the OIG office says EPA’s Homeland Security wing is not sharing information about possible employee misconduct, and is blocking OIG’s computer investigations.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said EPA officials impeded the John Beale investigation, and warned that they must stay out of OIG’s way.

Despite these charges, Deputy EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe said the EPA is doing all it can to help eliminate waste and fraud from the agency. “I want to begin by assuring the Committee that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shares the goal of the Committee and of the Office of the Inspector General of preventing and correcting any waste, fraud or abuse in any agency programs or operations,” he told the Committee.

But Republicans got him to admit that no one has been fired recently for misconduct; Perciasepe said he would get data to the Committee shortly on termination decisions over the last five years.

“Where and when to people actually get fired?” Chaffetz asked.