Watchdog dings EPA in hindered ethics probe

By Kevin Bogardus | 06/05/2024 01:41 PM EDT

The inspector general’s investigators couldn’t access mobile devices for an ex-top official dealing with alleged ethics violations.

A blank notebook and a pen sit next to a mobile phone with a blank text message screen open.

EPA's watchdog issued a report regarding mobile devices for employees and preserving records for departing staffers. Oscar Mucyo/Unsplash

EPA’s internal watchdog has raised the alarm after its staff couldn’t access mobile devices for a former senior official facing an ethics investigation.

EPA’s Office of Inspector General, in a “management implication report” released Wednesday, alerted the agency to ensure mobile devices for departing employees are preserved to stop “the loss of evidence.” The issue cropped up during the inspector general’s probe of the ex-official, leaving investigators without access to records that could be crucial for their review.

“The EPA OIG is conducting an administrative investigation of a senior official for alleged ethics violations,” the report said.


This year, the inspector general told EPA’s mission support office that the official intended to leave the agency and requested the office preserve information on the official’s electronic devices. Thirty days later after the official’s exit, the mission support office received five electronic devices but failed to maintain the three mobile devices that allowed EPA or the inspector general to access them.