The amazing saga of Environmental Protection Agency “climate change expert” John Beale, who bilked the government out of a million dollars in salary and perks over the course of a decade while hardly ever bothering to do any actual work, is only just beginning. This really should be one of the biggest stories in the world. It’s not hard to see why Big Media isn’t pushing it, because it makes her boyfriend Big Government look very, very bad – both this specific Administration, and the immortal bureaucratic organisms that long predated Barack Obama’s arrival in office, and will survive long after he departs.
The failure of ObamaCare had led to a long-overdue crisis of public faith for the managerial competence of Big Government. At least the people who dumped Healthcare.gov on America were showing up for work in the morning, and making some vague effort toward creating something that bore a faint resemblance to an online web portal where insurance plans could be bought. Beale was treating himself to a 13-year re-enactment of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at taxpayer expense, telling anyone curious about his whereabouts that he was running secret missions for the CIA in Pakistan. No, seriously, that was his excuse. And everyone in a position to put a stop to his antics believed him.
Or, as it turns out, maybe they didn’t really believe him, but they played along anyway. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has been coming through Beale’s deposition to Congress, and he can’t believe some of the stuff he’s reading. He wants broader hearings into the EPA. “There were some major misjudgment and lack of leadership skills when it came to decisions surrounding John Beale, but it is still difficult to ascertain the lies from reality at this stage, whether coming from the EPA or Beale himself,” Vitter told Fox News. “My instinct is that this just the first layer of a very big onion in term of what has been going on at EPA.”
And boy, does that onion stink. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy eventually blew the whistle on Beale’s improper expenses, but he claims she knew he was up to no good for a long time, and they used to have some hair-raising lunch conversations about transforming capitalism into something that would be easier for environmentalist commissars to control:
Beale said they started meeting in mid-2009. At a lunch, he claimed his “fabricated story about working at CIA came up,” and that they also discussed various projects. Beale recalled telling her about a project he wanted to work on, which he described as “green economics.”
He argued that environmental regulation was reaching its “limits” because “the fundamental dynamic of the capitalistic system is for businesses and individuals to try to externalize all costs.” So he said he began working on his plan.
This, he said, involved “coming up with specific proposals that could be — could have been proposed either legislatively or things which could have been done administratively to kind of modify the DNA of the capitalist system.”
Beale said this “is not new” and has happened “tens of times” in the history of capitalism.
“It’s not a God-given system that was created once and never changes. It changes all the time,” he said. He said McCarthy was aware of the project and “we met frequently to talk about it and had actually quite deep discussions.” He said, though, that the project was eventually “scrapped.”
He also claimed the project began under the George W. Bush administration.
Clearly it would be unfair to condemn McCarthy based solely on the testimony of a man who handles the truth the same way Justin Bieber handles his Lamborghini in a 3o-mph zone. But Senator Vitter is right to call for broader and deeper hearings to get to the bottom of how this preposterous character was able to operate for so long. Someone needs to explain why Justin Bieber was hired to drive the EPA’s climate change bus.
As for this project to modify the DNA of capitalism, the scary thing is that it’s entirely believable. That’s the sort of thing I can readily imagine EPA bigwigs chatting about over their sustainable lunches. It’s not as if any other branch of this Administration has been shy about using administrative power to splice the genes of free-market capitalism into something more tractable. The EPA would have been a relaxed environment for such discussions under the Bush Administration, too. Both of them. All three of them, if Jeb Bush is sworn into the Oval Office in 2017.
No one can deny this agency has the administrative power to carry out the kind of project Beale envisioned. The big question, in fact, is what he wanted them to do that isn’t already being done. It’s like learning the IRS scrapped a plan to go after conservative groups even more aggressively. You really want to see what was scribbled in that notebook.
As for Beale’s bilking of the taxpayer – shame on news organizations that say he was stealing from “the agency,” as if the EPA was a thriving business concern with its own hard-earned revenue – the Washington Post reports he’ll be doing some time after agreeing to a plea bargain, paying $1.4 million in fines and restitution, answering questions about good old-fashioned pay-to-play corruption, and maybe even losing his federal pension. Maybe.
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