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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 8, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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he actually had a security -- eric is mr. conn. you would have to go through security check to make sure you didn't have any phones or recording devices or anything like that before you would be allowed to enter into his office. he just became a lot more strict
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and aware of who was around him and the things that he said in the presence of certain people. there was no retaliation. we were asked if we have spoken to anyone or had been contacted by anyone but other than that there wasn't anything. >> ms. hicks? >> no, and not for me personally. after the story came out i didn't stick around too much longer because eric conn did start to do things so crazy like have someone call my phone so he could stock some person. i didn't stay too much longer after that. >> how do you know that he had someone do that? >> because he had actually spoken to administrative law judge andrus and he had given my phone number to an employee there and she had left several messages on my phone to let me know when the employee was going to be off work so that eric could send someone to follow her.
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>> so there is no doubt he felt intimidated. >> very much so. i didn't want to be an bald in it. it was bad enough that she left messages on my phone but he actually asked me to drive to her home and he would get upset if he told them not to anything. when i told him i didn't want to do that there were just days that he wouldn't talk to you for a while and make you feel bad for not doing what he wanted. so i just left shortly after that. >> ms. carver and ms. griffith from what you have seen there is no way that judge daugherty could have had as many cases under his authority and carried out a lot of the activities that he did without the active support of judge andrus. >> correct. >> correct.
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>> and that obviously is disturbing sense judge andrus was the chief judge here right? >> yes. when i report to the hearing office director greg hall he told me on several occasions that he had spoke with alj andrus and he was going to address the judges however the activity never did stop. >> how is your life now ms. griffith? >> in the office it's not good right now. >> shunned by fellow employees? >> i was, for several years every supervisor that i was assigned to -- i now have employees telling me that the things that they were afraid to tell me at the time but they were it each and every one were told do not associate with me, that i was a bad person that if you wanted to be promoted in that office --
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>> do you know who it was that was telling these things? >> they were newly-hired employees. >> who was telling them? >> the supervisors. >> and you know who they were? >> yes. >> ms. griffith? >> my life is drastically different. i don't have -- i don't have a medical problems that i had when i worked there that were caused by stress. you know right now i'm going back to school and you know i am very very happy that i am not there now because i cannot imagine if it was this bad for me as what it was then which at that time you know there were times, there were a couple of times that -- one time that i was taken out of the office by ambulance because
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my blood pressure had reached the level of a stroke. i had been working with my doctor for a number of years to try and get that down. i couldn't control the stress and i walked away from that and have worked for several years in the private sector as a paralegal. i am not ever experienced anything like i experienced there. >> i think the witnesses and i think you mr. chairman and all i can say is that i know i speak for all of us that we will try to see that no one else ever goes through what you have been through and obviously there are problems here that are much larger than your office and you individually but you are the people who made this possible and we thank you. >> again thank you. i made a mistake when i said
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senator heitkamp and -- suggested the next senator be recognized as senator heitkamp so welcome. >> senator baldwin is always honest, and amazing woman and all a incredible women who are doing something incredibly difficult and who at been doing something incredibly difficult for a very long period of time which is to stand up for the american taxpayers which is to stand up for what's right and i want to extend my personal thank you but also to thank you on behalf of the people of this country. unfortunately your story is so utterly remarkable because all of you attempted on every step along the way, you attempted to try and give attention to this problem. i have heard repeatedly during this that management began to
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use intimidation and management begin to do this and management began to do that. obviously not as familiar and senator levin and senator may cane and senator coburn with this file. i am new on this committee but i think this is an opportunity i think for especially ms. carver and ms. griffith to name all of the people within management who have been intimidated or so who have been in some way whether it legally or illegally collaborators with a system that allow this to continue. so i guess i would start with you ms. carver to provide us a list of those names. >> it started with supervisor arthur weathersby, cathy goforth , jerry mead, stacey
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clarkson, stephen hayes, currently bobby bentley and i have a new supervisor that has just recently conducted an investigation on me and his last name is bono and he is so relatively new but i don't even know his first name at this point. >> thank you. ms. griffith? >> my primary experience with it was with ms. cathy goforth and the former hearing officer gary call and charlie anders and to some degree although much more minor alj daugherty. >> it may seem odd to you that i have asked you to name folks but it certainly has been our experience that sunshine can go a long way and if other agencies are operating like this, if
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other offense like this are occurring within the system having people know that your name will be listed in washington d.c. in a hearing could provide may be some relief to folks in your situation who are calling out these kinds of egregious problems and not getting any answer. i want to transition from what was happening internally because obviously not only has this hearing and all of the attention not led to a change of atmosphere for you within that agency. it seems like there continues to be pushed back from the agency on what needs to be done but i want to transition for a moment acus i think it was you ms. griffith who talked about filing an inspector general's complaint in 2009 and never hearing and i just want to make sure we have this right. he filed a complaint in 2009 and
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did not hear from the inspector general until 2011, after the report in "the wall street journal." is that correct? >> i believe that's correct. >> did you ever follow up with the ig or did you just say it's more of the same and i'm done with it might blood pressure is going down. >> initially i made a few phonecalls but i didn't yield any results and i just would have pled guilty. >> do you remember who it was where do you have any record of who it was in the igs office that you contacted? >> no. the only thing i have with regard to that complaint is the copy of the original e-mail confirming that complaint that i had. >> and you had that e-mail almost right after you file the complaint in 2009? >> yeah. i think it may have been the same day. >> it's probably something that was generated. one of our tasks here isn't just to expose your particular
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situation but to look ahead and say if there are women like you in an agency who are being intimidated who are having these problems where pointing out something that just seems so blatantly wrong and not getting listened to, how do we fix that for other women or other individuals within agencies? have you thought about that and i again direct the question to ms. carver and ms. griffith. have you thought about if only this, if only this, that would have made a difference? >> i have often because we currently have -- have had several complaints filed from women in our office and unfortunately the way our grievance procedure operates is we file our first appeal with our first line supervisor in their second appeal with the
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hearing office director and then the third appeal goes to the chief alj at the regional level. they were all three denied and the management knows this because our union can only arbitrate so many cases a year based on the money. if your case isn't selected to be arbitrated then you have no other recourse. >> ms. griffith? >> you now part of the problem when you run into an problem with an agency or at least in my experience is that if you have a complaint about your supervisor that is who you filed the complaint with. so you don't have the ability to be anonymous, to talk to anybody who isn't going to either turn around and tell her everything that you just said about her or him or whoever. you don't have that protection. you are going to complain, you are going to complain to two
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people who are responsible for supervising you and they can in turn discipline you for anything they would like and they can get away with it. >> if management decides you are the troublemaker it's pretty easy to be able to retaliate and avoid dealing directly with complaints now matter how legitimate and the other thing that is striking about your discussion is not only is it legitimate that it was office gossip but yet nothing got done. unfortunately -- i would like to think that this doesn't happen in cases of people trying to do the right thing and other agencies but i think it probably does and it takes enormous enormous courage to do what you have done. it takes enormous courage to stand up and i just want to tell all for a few how much i applaud what you have done, how much i know it's hard to risk a family but you guys did it and you are really great americans. thank you.
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>> thank you very much for that. senator mccaul followed by a senator mccaskill. >> thank you mr. chairman and ranking member coburn for holding this very revealing hearing. i also want to thank subcommittee chairman levin and ranking member mccain for all the work that went into this investigation. it is incredibly revealing and i look at the responsibility of this committee and think about you now at the very specific level of the investigation before us our responsibilities to do whatever we can to make sure that people who would abuse this program for their own personal profit or benefit are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. and further, our responsibility
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to recognize the importance and the courage of these witnesses who have done the right thing and step forward and been very very courageous. others who might be similarly situated, to know that we have their interests in mind and that there will be protections for those to do the right things and speak up. we also as a full committee have larger responsibilities for the integrity of the program that we are talking about in the social security administration, that the right reforms and oversight need to be in place to prevent these sort of abuses. and i take all of those responsibilities very seriously. i know that my colleagues on
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this committee do. i do want to state for the record that i have certainly some initial hesitance to extrapolate beyond the case at hand based on the investigative report before us and i think we need to dig further and figure out how widespread this is. i do have a couple of questions in that regard but i just wanted to start very specifically with the case before us can't do with ms. and ms. martin. my understanding is that judge daugherty would contact your office roughly once a month to provide the names of 30 to 50 social security disability claimants that were represented by mr. conn. is that correct and how did that communication occur? >> yes, maam.
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he would usually call around the first of the month. our deadline to get him the information that he requested was by the 15th of every month. he would place a call to our office. i was usually the one who spoke with judge daugherty and he would give me the names of the individuals, the first five numbers of their social security number and whether he wanted a mental or physical evaluation performed on the clients. band that would be handed off to another employee that would schedule the appointments for the evaluations. >> and are there residual functional -- >> yes, maam. >> did any other administrative law judges aside from judge daugherty call into the office or communicate to the office like this that you are aware of? >> no, maam. >> okay.
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plan chairman carper was asking his initial question of the panel ms. carver you talk a little bit about how you first became aware of this and he talked about a mass collusion and part of what you are describing was sort of what became apparent when you looked at this alj's docket and if that is the right word in the outcomes of those cases versus others. did you just sort of walk me through what stood out when you look at those reports and those comparisons? >> depending on which report you would pull up, you could get the monthly dispositions of each judge and you could see that judge daugherty would do the work of three judges as opposed
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to one judge. you could also look at the amount of favorable decisions that he had versus the amount of other judges. all judges pretty much in their allowance rate that his decisions on one report, you could see that they would go all the way down and all you saw was favorable, favorable, favorable. not only were you able to look at the amount he did each month but you could look at the representative then you could also look at the decisions. >> when you use the term allowance rate, is that the percentage of favorable -- >> yes. >> and just without the documents are reports in front of you, can you give us some idea of how much judge daugherty stood out from the rest of the
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alj's in terms of the allowance rates? >> in a percentage? >> percentage. i guess what i would say is i'm aware of some of the rates reported on a national scale by the social security administration for favorable determinations of alj judges. 13% i have heard. i don't know if that was typical of the other alj's. >> it's might i might might enter if i would ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the case of judge daugherty at 99.7%. >> just so -- comparatively can you give me any sense of the average of other alj's in the huntington office? >> it would depend on each alj. usually on average i would say
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probably in my opinion about 60% , 60 to 70% were favorable. but with judge daugherty and eric klein what i saw was 100%. he didn't even have hearings that appointed several years and if you look at that statistic what is the likelihood that every claimant that walks in your office is disabled? >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. i too want to thank the witness for being here. i've a feeling it won't be the last time that you will be testifying somewhere. clearly there is this report.
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it gets my heart beating a little faster as a former prosecutor because i guarantee you we have had some good investigators on it investigators on at it that work for this committee but you put some good prosecutors on these sets of facts and i think you you're going to find something more than the pressure to move a docket quickly. i don't have a lot of questions for you. i think you have gone over it very well. i would ask you, those of you that works in the ssi offices for the social security administration did any of the lawyers know that the fix was in for conn? didn't the other lawyers representing people with disabilities know this? >> i received numerous phonecalls from other attorneys in the area while i was there.
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more towards the end of my time in 2007 than any other that had complained that they were losing their clients to mr. conn's office because mr. conn's office was making claim that they could get their case granted. >> and they could 100%. >> in response to that and that is why judge daugherty stopped having eric conn hearings because of the numerous complaints and that way he could have hearings for other representatives and move more room in his hearing schedule for other representatives. >> for other lawyers and clients. let me ask you this. this is a small community. the lawyers that do these cases and make it an even smaller community because this is not a major metropolitan area.
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all the judges knew each other. all the alj's new each other and all the lawyers knew each other. how many bar complaints were there about their conn if you no? >> to my knowledge none. >> what about judicial complaints about the alj? >> none to my knowledge. >> well that is depressing. how much pressure -- first of all was there pressure to move cases accurately which i think originally there was a desire in these cases not languish in the cases be moved to the system as quickly as possible but with accuracy. did you all have sufficient staff to do that? >> not at the time that this occurred. the staff in that office has increased considerably since i left. >> initially and it reminds me with the background checks. we say we want the government to be smaller but then we have
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crucial functions where we don't have enough people to do the work and that is the environment that this kind of nonsense occurs whether it's people pretending they are doing background checks when they are not or judges pretend like they're making a a decision on their merits when it's a pro forma decision. let me also say before i turn it back to the chairman because i'm anxious to have questions for the other panelists. i am assuming that you saw meritorious complaints, all of you for disability. i am sure you saw lawyers that were honest that were handling those clients. i want to say that because knowing lawyers that do this kind of work and knowing people who have disabilities that
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receive a disability check that deserve it i want to be careful that we get that on the record. i thought senator coburn did a great job on television last night talking about the damage this does to the many honest hard-working meritorious claims and honest hard-working alj's and honest hard-working lawyers that are participating in the system across the country. clearly this is outrageous and we have to get to the bottom of it. if the facts lead where they appear to look like they lead someone should be prosecuted for it but i think you want to point out that there are lots of honest people representing lots of people that are in desperate need in front of good alj's that are doing their best with the resources they have. >> yes there are. >> finally since you knew where
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eric conn was all the time with her a lot of socializing with other judges on the schedule? >> you now. usually the only time they socialize with judges was that the hearing office when they had hearings before them. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> before i yield back to dr. coburn i have more questions and let me ask a couple of my own. what advice would you have two others from some other part of our government who see things that are wrong and are inclined to say something about a? we have a saying on the train if you see something say something and we have sort of adopted that throughout our homeland security operation. what advice would you have two others that might be helpful to them and maybe encouraging to
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them? >> as you see these occurrences happening i feel the most important thing to do is to document them because without the documentation that we used we wouldn't have been able to prove it. the administration i feel believes that we somehow may have gotten our information from some other way because they have since installed i believe it's like six doors, six or $7000 apiece in our office that are soundproofing soundproof their offices management has and now locks their offices every time they leave even if it's to a copier. it's not a matter of us stealing information off of a supervisors desk. it's just a matter of recording it and then following up with a
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simple e-mail saying this is what we discussed. i discussed this problem with you and i look forward to you resolving it in the near future and that is what we did. >> ms. griffith what advice would you have for others that might see things that are wrong and might be inclined to speak up and might be fearful? >> we wouldn't be where we are today had we not kept accurate accounts of things that went on and records but i think the best advice i could give to anybody is not to back down and not to be afraid to say something. >> all right. ms. slone? >> i agree with ms. harbor and ms. griffith that the documentation is the most important thing. >> ms. hicks. i called you ms. martin.
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i'm sorry. >> i agree with all of them. them. >> what advice do you have for us? reuse to be governmental affairs and have supplied oversight responsibilities for the whole federal government and what we have done here is i believe dr. coburn and senator levin is to exercise their responsibilities under the governmental affairs piece of our committee. what advice would you have for us? what advice would you have for us given what you've been through and what you have learned that we might be more constructive in the work we do and more supportive frankly people like you who see things that shouldn't be happening? >> i feel there should be a system of accountability within the beach administration. i feel that for the most part
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that managers, supervisor's alj's those higher up in an agency are promoted, allowed to retire or are given monetary awards that we as employees, we are held to the same standard of conduct but we would be fired, terminated, discipline. i have never known up until this investigation anybody, any judge or any manager that has been disciplined. they have been removed and promoted or a position created for them but never held accountable for their actions. >> thank you. >> again do you have any advice for us please? >> i think it's important to take -- to do what you have already started to do, to take a hard look at what's going on with
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social security. it's not just about one judge and one attorney. it's not just occurring there. it's occurring everywhere. it is something that has -- needs to have more safeguards put in place to prevent this from happening anywhere else. if you look at what it has cost just look at what one judge in one attorney has cost the american taxpayers. it needs to be strengthened and their need to be more safeguards in place to protect not only the employees but to protect the american taxpayers from having this benefit system hijacked. >> ms. slone and ms. hicks at any advice for us? >> i think maybe trying to make changes in the ways that the lawyers and judges actually communicate spending time together and allowing them to develop a personal relationship. i think a change there would probably help. >> thank you. i will turn it over to
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dr. coburn for questions. one of the things we have sought to do in other parts of our oversight is to look at medicare and medicaid and to see where technology can be used to put a spotlight on behavior that is questionable and untoward. we have doctors may be prescribing large amounts of controlled substances to a lot of people and in some cases the same person over and over again. different pharmacies but there is a pattern of behavior using technology. credit card companies have been doing this for some time. it just pops up and for the credit card companies to be able to say give me a call and say what are you doing in the paul? i'm not there but technology can be our friend here. to the extent that we use that
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we can put people like you less likely in harm's way in positions of having the possibility of losing your job or your standing in the community. technology doesn't solve all of our problems but it can really help. would you like to, on that? >> i feel somebody outside of the agency needs to know how to read that technology. we have the availability to see those reports. that was published in the organic and article as far as favorable rates and anybody could look at this information that we need somebody on the outside that knows how to look at the information and know what's going on, what the procedures are within the agency to be able to recognize hey this is a red flag here. >> thank you.
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dr. coburn. spam going to go through this fairly quickly because there are some things i want to get on record. if you would look at exhibit 22 and 28. i'm going to ask you questions about that in turn to you ms. slone. this is an e-mail you sent to mr. hull. it was one of the times you will alert him that judge daugherty were assigning cases represented by mr. conn in the with the following. dvd has elected to to go and assign themselves several electronic cases which are conn cases. how did you know judge daugherty was assigning himself case is? it's just your e-mail. >> i had discussed this. jennifer had come to me as the union representative and had
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discussed this situation because he was one of the first judges that was trained on the electronic file. however the electronic files -- we had cases from other attorney representatives that he was selecting. >> is the first time you notice that he was doing this? >> this is probably around the first time that jennifer had come to me over it. she may have for boley told them that this is the first time i believe. >> were you aware of any time judge daugherty assigned himself cases represented by another lawyer? >> now. >> you said in your e-mail that the agency could take certain steps to put a stop to eric conn calling and giving them a list of electronic cases. why do you think mr. conn was calling judge daugherty to let them know his cases were on the way?
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>> because he could intercept these cases before they were assigned to another administrative law judge. >> is that the only explanation that he would know what the cases were? if he had no knowledge of what those cases where how would he know what cases to look for? could he search it by the lawyer by the lawyer's last name? >> not if they hadn't been received yet. >> there for you to know the cases. >> he had to know the social security number. >> you an e-mail saying all of this is not going unnoticed. people on the floor said that this could escalate into a larger problem. >> i shouldn't use the word everybody but a large number of people. >> girls who were processing the cases. now go to exhibit 28 if you will please. this problem didn't seem to go away. if you look at exhibit 28 this
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is the e-mail from march 29 from you to judge william get well another alj huntington office. he wrote for your information someone was closing this case and it was originally your case. he took took it into an otr on it. can you describe in more detail what happened and why you sent this e-mail? >> this was one of many e-mails that i began to send to the alj's themselves in hopes that the alj's would start complaining to charlie andress. >> only record determination could be made positively. it has to have a hearing, is that correct? >> correct. >> this e-mail was sent two and half years after the 2000 e-mail from jennifer griffith which we had discussed. the juicy judge daugherty is signing of the cases after management was made aware of the problem in 2007? >> yes.
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>> was there and he followed to your e-mail from judge get my -- or management? >> i talked with judge get low on several occasions and he said he had e-mailed alj on several occasions and it holds judge andrews that if he did not take care of the problem he was going to take it outside of the office. >> thank you. ms. slone you actually worked for mr. conn for long period of time. can you describe what did you do for him? were you his miss everything? >> i started out as a claims taker and work several positions within the office. when i left i was doing managerial duties. >> were you his most senior employee? >> yes. >> in terms of responsibility? how important would you say judge daugherty was for the
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success of the law from? >> very successful. >> when did you first grow concerned about the relationship between mr. conn and judge daugherty? >> when i moved to the hearing department and noticed judge daugherty was the only one that we did an appearance for and i remember asking why was different for him. we were just told that that was what he preferred to do. >> can you tell us what a db list was and how it was he is? >> the db list was a list of claimants that db -- >> keep beach and being judge daugherty. >> calling with cement and give us a list of claimants that he wanted us to send private and valuation run on the record decision. >> he how were these lists created? >> i would create the list when he would give me the information. >> would you look at exhibit 18? this is at the top of the first document. db september 2009 and another
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one says june quarters to one six/16/06. can you describe what that means? >> of the claim is of the claimants named theirs is a security number and physical bull would mean which report judge daugherty requested. judge daugherty would request that there was a prior decision or if there was an age. if they turn 50 -- >> so they were backdated? >> yes, sir. >> some less the word mental necks of claimants name and some say physical. why sometimes didn't say either? >> you he would leave that to the discretion of eric. which you you would -- >> so met? a lot of the claimants have what are called amanda don said gates. why would judge daugherty do that? i think we covered that.
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>> yes, sir. >> there is a huge db list from 2006 to 2010. when did they start the first list? >> i'd are often know when they started using them. when i move to the hearing department they were already in place. >> prior to 2006? >> i didn't move to the hearing department until maybe late 2008. >> but they were there then? >> yes. >> how often engaged judge daugherty call your office with a list? >> once a month. >> who would mr. conn send his clients to when he said mental or physical? >> if but was physical is primarily dr. frederick -- until his death and if it was mental as dr. brad atkins. >> well. >> well what they get in return? >> or hufnagel was $400 per evaluation and dr. atkins diet
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not exactly sure. it was in the 300-dollar range. >> they would give that finding as to what mr. conn want mr. conn wanted? >> yes, sir. with the doctors fill out the rfc's themselves? >> someone else did it. >> did you have occupational therapist in your office to determine these forms? >> not to my knowledge. >> where did mr. conn financers? >> to or hufnagel had been performing evaluations for several years prior to my employment. when dr. or hufnagel did pass away he looked for some other doctors to fill his shoes and he would look for doctors that had prior sanctions and problems. he said it's easier to hire them. >> what the two for mr. conn and how long did he work there? >> i was with the law firm for six years. i needed -- the number different things as well.
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i was in the social social security office and assist in managing the office at one point and i had been a receptionist. actually for a year and a half or two years i mostly went to hearings with eric. >> okay. where would mr. conn's clients go when they needed to be seen by doctor? >> eric had medical but he had that only in the last year or two years i was there. mostly they were seen there. it was actually within walking distance of the clients would go to his office. for brad atkins i think he saw them mostly at his own office as well. >> could you describe to me a typical day when dr. or hufnagel was seeing patients in eric conn's patients the amount of time spent with the patient? you can generalize. >> when dr. or hufnagel was in the office he probably saw
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anywhere from 15 to 25 clients. he didn't spend a lot of time with him. his wife saw them first. i'm not exactly sure what she did. he only saw them for maybe 20 minutes at the most, sometimes lose the map. >> was there ever a time dr. or hufnagel did not sign a pre-filled out the rfc form? was their time you're aware that he requested a change in rfc filing? >> not that i'm aware of. >> ssa rules prohibit claimant lawyers from charging them, their clients for doctor visits when additional evidence is requested. where would mr. conn if the money to pay for these exams? >> i'm not sure where the money came from. he wrote checks to each of the doctors and i assume that was from the office account. account. >> would he require all clients to sign a contract on camera promising to pay for the
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additional medical costs themselves? >> they'll sign the contract. there were so many that came in it it cost too much money to pay for that camera. >> i want to go back to dr. hufnagel. he got a brief report and signed a residual functional capacity. these forms would be sent to judge daugherty to approve the cases. please look at exhibit 45. can you explain how mr. conn use this form and others like it? >> for the physical medical assessment form during the time that i dealt with these there were 10 different ones. they were labeled rfc number one through 10. these would be printed out. if we had 50 claimants i came in to see dr. hufnagel in the
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course of two days and 50 of these would be printed out and someone would handwrite the name of the individual and their social security number at the top attached to the medical report and those would be signed at the same time. >> these were pre-filled forms. >> yes, sir. the only thing that was blank was the name of social security wreck it. sphere would not for the record of all the forms that mr. conn mr. conn -- every one of the forms demonstrated reliability poor. every form. so that means nobody came through mr. conn's office and his rfc's. no was left better at portman demonstrated reliability. that would be important later. how was it decided which rfc form would go with which client? >> there was no form or fashion.
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it was just random. >> to dr. hufnagel review the rfc forms to make sure they match the claimants limitations? >> not that i'm aware of. >> to dr. hufnagel asked for an the doctor hufnagel aspirin are cdb changed? would other alj's called? >> no sir. >> would the thing judge daugherty would do this and what you think was going on? i'm not asking you to speculate. what is your common sense tell you? >> common sense told us and the talk in the office was that he was paid to do so. >> i would ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the list of rfc forms and noting that they all show for on demonstrated ability. >> without objection. >> ms. hicks i have one other set of questions for you. in 2000 limits on the details
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with mr. conn and judge daugherty became public and an article which you afford to related to. two. what was the reaction inside the law office at that time? >> chaos. >> described that. >> everyone was in a panic. there wasn't a lot of work done at all. i remember that david damien came to visit our office. no one spoke to to him in the left and went to the subway next story. we had emploes there and eric conn told me to go and get them because they'll have to come out of the subway. he didn't want anybody around him. eric at the time had to get himself prescribed medication and one of the doctors gave it to him. he laughed and joked that when they came to the office to ask them questions that he was high on the pills that he was prescribed. that was only way he was able to speak.
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>> please look if you would ms. hicks at exhibit 75. this is a receipt from family dollar for a throwaway cell phone. can you explain why mr. conn would use these phones? >> after the article came out in "the wall street journal" he actually purchased a lot of these. he was afraid for judge daugherty to call the office because his set if the phones were tapped or if anyone looked at the phone records they would see that they were still communicating so he purchased a lot of these. the reason for that was the first time they purchase cell phones judge daugherty forgot to use his track phone and called eric. i don't member of it was from his home number or the social security office but he called the track phone without using his track phone so they had to throw them away and get new ones. >> all right. ms. slone what are the most
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troubling findings of our investigation is mr. conn had a huge volume of documents related to his disability practice once his relationship with judge daugherty became public. can you describe what you saw with regard to what happened to? >> most of the documents that i knew that were destroyed came after his mother left the office we went through and there was her lot of changes with course made in the office one of which there were several files. they were closed files. those were depending on their age gotten rid of. a lot of documents that were in his mother's office he went through himself and decided what needed to be destroyed. >> was this after the inspector general's visit? >> yes, sir. >> all this occurred after the inspector general's visit? >> yes, sir. >> what was unusual this time
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about what had it happened in the past with normal document destruction? >> to my knowledge i don't remember ever having it document discharged of this side. >> did you have to destroy the db list? >> i guessed -- i guess not to have anything that had anything to do a tv on it. >> would the her conversations specifically about making sure the db lists were destroyed? >> destroyed? >> yes sir. he told us to check her offices and make sure we didn't have any db lists or documents that had db's name on it. >> what did you do with the electronic files? >> the electronic files, i'm sorry. do you mean the ssa electronic files? >> the computer files or your office. >> we had replaced several computers in our office with new ones and he would have employees remove the hard drive from the computers and destroy them.
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they would smash them with a hammer and later bring us. >> did mr. conn make any statement about why he was destroying all of his documents? >> just that he called its spring cleaning. he didn't want to have any documents pertaining to db. >> to judge daugherty? >> to judge daugherty. >> thank you all very much. >> thank you dr. coburn. senator levin. >> i just had one additional question here. ms. slone and did either both of you watch as mr. conn looked for doctors with disciplinary
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album's? >> yes. >> what -- you said you watched. where was he looking? >> in his office. he was looking on the computer at the kentucky border board of licensure and he would look for doctors that had sanctions were problems but their license in the past. he would rent out their information. i know i have made several phonecalls to.year's asking if they had been doing evaluations for them. >> ms. hicks you also saw that? >> yes. >> and the reason is as they think you testified to you said it would be easier to work with them if they had prior sanctions? >> he actually had said before that he refer to those as -- doctors. if they had sanctions and had their license suspended before he could get them to do whatever
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he wanted and they were cheaper to work with. >> you heard them say that? >> yes. >> you wow. >> i think that concludes this part of our hearing. do any of you want to make a brief closing remark or anything you would like to say before you are dismissed please? >> thank you. >> we thank you. >> we thank you for listening to us. >> we thank you understaffed and particularly all of you. >> you had to come here in your own dime's well, didn't you? albert einstein said adversity adversity --
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the opportunity and there has been a lot of adversity in west virginia. the opportunity is to learn from this experience into make sure it's not happening in other places around the country where they are trying to make social security determinations so we can better ensure we are not wasting money and throwing money away at a time when we are running out of money. i hope and my prayer is something that is going to happen from a tough couple of years. with that before i excuse you and bring forward the second panel. [inaudible] dr. coburn is going to hustle over there and vote and come back and relieve me and i will go back and vote and will return shortly after that. then we won't have to slow things down for there. dr. coburn. >> i have just one additional question.
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we are going to have a doctor on the next panel to make recommendations for social security and recommendations for mr. conn. was it ever noticed in the social security office the disparity of those two sets of recommendations won by a paid attorney and one paid by the social security office where they said opposite things? >> yes. >> yes. >> thank you. that's the last question. thank you so much.
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last week former epa official john diehl refused to testify before the house oversight committee about the nearly nine of thousands out there. mr. beale admitted to the charges part of plea deal. his actions included posting is a cia gate agent charging the government for personal trips and obtaining a legal retention bonuses. this hearing is three and a half hours. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the committee will come to order. the oversight committee exists to secure two fundamental principles create first americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent and second, americans deserve an efficient and effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. ..
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>> because in fact what we want to find out on this committee and the reason that this hearing has great merit is we want to find out how top officials at the epa under multiple administrations, for more than a decade, how they never verify that a man who said he is a secret agent of the cia, how he never verify that he was. we also would like to find out that big lie is compounded with the big lie that an individual supposedly working for the cia also got his pay raise to a
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level that appears to be above the statutory limit. never tear it appears as though he was paid an amount greater than congress allows. justices committee investigated months ago, allowing for payments, related to the state of new york, we do not hold new york accountable alone, we do not hold mr. beale accountable alone. no individual and no boss should be able to write anything that allows someone to be paid for more than the law allows. the lack of external controls in government as a whole would be the subject not just today but in the days to come. we hear complaints from the private sector at the top epa officials turn a deaf ear to
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their concerns about how regulations kill jobs and at enormous cost with little or no benefit. that is an issue that we will deal with many times as we address the epa. but it appears as though there was a deaf ear taken to somebody not working. evidence shows that we will hear from the inspector general that beyond the craziness of someone saying that they had to be gone for weeks or months at a time because a quote that's for another agency not doing their job and still being paid and in fact not being billed back to the cia. back to that we understand there was a retirement ceremony in which individual retired people and then convinced the now director and others that he should continue being paid because he wasn't really retired in his retirement from the cia
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was awaiting a replacement. and we are really sorry for the loss of the nonexistent secret agent or place a nonexistent future content secret agent. it is not our desire to call anyone before congress simply to ridicule them. but i believe that today there is a degree of ridicule of top individuals of the epa and i feel that top individuals and lower individuals throughout government, if in fact we cannot make a government search to see this has happened before. one thing that i have found in the many years in which i manufactured consumer electronics as there is no such thing as one defect. there is no such thing as everything is perfect except for the one you got. there is no such thing as this
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is the first time that we have had a report of this defect for this problem. here i believe the lack of controls of the epa almost guarantee that others did not do their job and fell through the cracks. we have an agenda on this side, which is that we would like to have been officials keep timecards to include the work of agencies and that has not passed the congress and it may not pass. the finding out if people view work should and we have learned that the deputy director, the individual has -- i will get the same better in time. and now the administrator mccarthy worked extremely close with them for years. ms. mccarthy was john beale's
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direct supervisor at the office of air and radiation when he was a senior official in this office is responsible for the sweeping regulations affecting business. as we look at a history of working closely, with names that we all know, including the direct report to people that continue to be in the office today, what we find interesting is if the gentleman could perpetrate outright lies with impunity, what did he do in his daily work life on the rare days in which he performed work for the epa. we need to get to the bottom of this because we owe it to the american people. we need to discover, in fact, whether individuals like mr. beale and others not performing work are now sitting in retirement collecting
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paychecks in retirement for work that they did not do and thus a retirement they did not earn. finally i want to thank you, inspector general, for the work done. it is our report that in fact has delayed at a time that should have been informed the general counsel and others are being consulted around you. for that we want to make sure that it is clearly understood that going to a lawyer when you discover something is not a substitute for also going to the ig. this committee supports the inspector general's offices and their work. the 12,000 men and women who independently of congress, and whenever possible, independent of their employers on executive branch seeks to root out waste and fraud and abuse that is essential to this committee. there is no partisan divide on the work of the ig's and we will
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work on a bipartisan basis to ensure that administrations, republican, democratic, understand that the ig's are never to be kept in the dark when there is an allegation of even a portion, that the ig's have to be brought in at the beginning, not when it's about to become public. okay. it also is disturbing to me that mr. brenner, back in the 70s, when you and mr. beale went to princeton, you begin a friendship that could require, that should require when you are the superior if someone that you helped bring into the agency, that you look with the little bit more scrutiny. but you are more likely know
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what someone is saying isn't true and i find it astonishing that. and additionally during our investigation and the help of the inspector general we became aware of what appears to be an inappropriate set than 70,000-dollar gift. a discount on a mercedes-benz. from an outside lobbyist. my understanding is this was not done with the approval of cooperation of mercedes-benz, but it is her attention to use our power beyond that which the ig has authority. it were up to me, the ig would've had authority to interview all of you or both of you even as he sought retirement escape history section. one of the reasons that you're here today is in fact that the ig act has certain limitations and it cannot compel former members of government to speak them. you cannot go between agencies
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and is very stovepipes and is our intention to move the legislation that expands the ability of the ig is to gain subpoena authority and that that authority should extend to investigations that began within their agencies and have tentacles and other agencies and with former employees, particularly when those employees very paychecks as to what is in question. so i want to thank the ranking member for being patient as i went through a longer opening statement. and i look forward to this hearing and to the work that we must do afterwards. and i yield to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a very important hearing. the before i discuss this today, i would like to address a current budget situation. today is the percent first time that the federal government has shut down in 17 years.
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this happened because a small group of tea party republicans has taken our country hostage is a part of the ideological law of the land and put insurance companies back in charge of millions of americans. the house leadership could have a verdict that is shut down immediately by allowing the house of representatives to vote on a clean and continuing resolution. let me say that again. if they put a clean resolution, it would pass and there would be no government shutdown. they refused because they are replacing internal republican politics ahead of the best interests of our nation and our economy. so this morning 800,000 hard-working middle-class
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workers who would've been in their duty stations providing vital services to the american people are furloughed. many of them are my constituents. things will only deteriorate from here. i agree that our committee has a duty to provide oversight. hearings on this one are a key part of that oversight. but it seems odd for a committee to be here today, acting like nothing is different and pretending that we are just doing and going about our business as usual. i would like to make clear that a government shutdown is not business as usual. and we should not treat it that way. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are asking the leadership to put a clean slate on the floor including any shutdown today. with that being said, let me
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turn to the hearing and i want to begin by thanking inspector general, elkins and his deputy, patrick sullivan, for investigating this gross abuse of taxpayer funds and i also want to acknowledge the department of justice for successfully prosecuting the gentleman, who pleaded guilty last friday and will be forced to pay back almost $900,000 in funds that he stole. in funds that he stole. from the american people. i want to acknowledge that mr. mccarthy and finally revealing this fraud which lasted incredibly for decades and i know that we discussed about how quickly the offers
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were received by referral. and i believe that had it not been for the administrator, this fraud may never have been uncovered. his betrayal of the public trust for his own personal enrichment is truly shocking in the scope and duration and the sheer audacity and it is amazing. the gentleman defrauded the epa for decades. both republican and democratic administrations by claiming that he was a covert operative of the cia and one senior epa official during the bush administration after approved his request work
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off-site one a week so he could participate in an interagency special advisory group working on a project with operations of the cia. give me a break. and this was no ordinary readers. in addition to lying, he stole my, line to the epa officials with multiple administrations and also duped his own family members and his friends and even his own lawyer. that is a lot of duping. he did not come clean with his own criminal defense attorney until investigators arranged for
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the cia headquarters to finally confront him about his lies. but that is not all that he did. it is not all that he lied about. according to the inspector general he also lied about contracting malaria. and serving in vietnam while to obtain a handicapped parking spot. my goodness. he also lied about travel vouchers and about where he was going and why he needed to go there so he could visit his family in california. simply put, he was a con artist. the american taxpayers when his mark. as public servants, we must always remember that we serve the people.
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he flouted one of the most asic tenets of government service that it is not your money. it is the taxpayers money. it is people that go out there, the ones that i saw this morning to hit the early bus. it is their money. and you stole it. his actions are an insult to the thousands of hard-working and dedicated public servants across the country in an insult to our agents around the world. while he was claiming to work and pretending to go on secret missions overseas, real intelligence agents were hunting down osama bin laden and
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battling al qaeda and the most dangerous places in the world. his impersonation of a cia agent for start nation's law enforcement officials to spend their scarce time and resources in covering the fraud instead of combating the threats around the globe. this is truly reprehensible. and i am glad that justice has been served and that mr. beale will pay for his fraud. for his lies and his bat. our inquiry cannot enter because we need to know how the system failed to catch him earlier and examine additional reforms. although the audit work is still ongoing, i look forward to hearing about his initial
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recommendations and to hearing from the deputy administrator of the epa about steps the agency has already taken and plans to take to safeguard in the future and as i close, let me say that i urge my colleagues to refrain from using mr. beale to make generalizations about government workers. he is an aberration and the vast majority of federal employees dedicate their lives to serving the public. they come to work every day and they give it everything that they have got because they realize it is bigger than them and it is not about them. it is bigger and they are
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honest. and they would never even contemplate reaching the public trust in this manner. mr. chairman, with that, look forward i look forward to the testimony and i yield back. >> i think the gentleman adorned with him insane hundreds of thousands of federal workers are on furlough without pay and we do not take this as an ordinary day, but perhaps an appropriate day with someone who furloughed himself time and time again. members will have seven days to submit the opening statements for the record and will recognize the first panel of witnesses. the honorable arthur oken's gender who is the inspector general for the u.s. environmental protection agency. welcome. mr. patrick sullivan, the deputy inspector that oversees the primary responsibility for this investigation. mr. mark kaminski, who is
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sitting behind them is a special agent with the office of the epa and he may be called to answer questions because of his direct contact in this investigation and will also be sworn in when the others are sworn in as well. the honorable gentleman is the deputy administrator of the united states environmental protection agency. and mr. robert bremmer is the former director of policy analysts and revealed that the air radiation division of the u.s. environment protection agency. the primary witness is the senior policy adviser at the u.s. environmental protection agency and allegedly the cia.
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without an pursuant to the committee rules, would all of you please rise to be sworn. please raise your right hands. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth and nothing but the truth. thank you and please be seated. let the record reflect that all answered in the affirmative. we are going to consume a lot of time and i would ask you to keep your opening statement close to five minutes or less as possible. your statements will be placed in the record in addition to any comments that you may want to give us afterwards and we will hold the record open at the end for a couple of days. >> thank you. good morning, chairman darrell issa, and members of the committee. i am arthur elkins, inspector general of the u.s. environmental protection agency
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and i'm pleased to appear before you today to discuss some of the recent important work of the office of inspector general. in particular, i will highlight the work that ensued is a direct result of the ig's criminal investigation of this former employee. the epa assistant inspector general, whose testimony will follow mine, will provide more specific details of the investigation that led to guilty plea on september 27, 2013. thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share with you the ig's various efforts to safeguard the epa and the u.s. chemical safety board from fraud and waste and abuse and independent voters cite of programs and operations. i would like to commend the professionalism of the staff whose work serves as the foundation of my testimony this
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morning. once my office learned of the serious allegations made against bill, do office of investigations immediately announced a successful investigation of what you will certainly agree to be an egregious and almost unbelievable case. as a result, the office of honor has audit has mobilized to aggressively assess the various internal control issues that allow this to occur. my testimony will detail what is conducted by the office of audit as a result of the investigation. i also received congressional request to launch this into the agency's policies and processes that facilitated fraud and this includes requested assistance to address the following weaknesses. the epa retention bonuses, the pay limit, the first-class travel, and approval and foreign
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travel and the vetting process for new employees and time and attendance issues and timely referrals and authority of the homeland security. in september of 2013, the office of audit sent a notice stating a plan to begin culinary research on areas as a result of recent actions taken against a former employee and we are also performing up to address the first part of the congressional request and we have reviewed the office of investigations case files to determine how the fraud took place. one internal controls existed. what controls may need strengthening and what controls are compromised or circumvented or overwritten. upon completion of this request, we will provide a letter that will address the facts concerning how the fraud occurred. the estimated date for the issuance of the letter is october 31 of 2013, barring
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delays to the possible shutdown of the government and the peace operation. we just started our pulmonary research for the second part of the congressional request and we would keep the committee updated on the audit estimated completion. this further audit may uncover other issues that i have not detailed this morning. accordingly we may issue this as it relates. this investigation has resulted in several investigations related to administrative matters, and i am unable to discuss them but will do so when i can. my testimony today highlights the commitment to continue to shine a light on the epa to continue to guarantee that our tax dollars are being well spent. so that a scenario should not happen again and funding fairly represents a great value to the american taxpayer and i asked the committee to please keep in
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mind that additional cuts may focus on discretionary work such as request from congress to investigate agency programs or operations. in conclusion, i would like to reaffirm commitment to add value and assist the agency in accomplishing its mission and of protecting the american environment. we take seriously the economy and efficiency and protectiveness and fraud waste and abuse their independent oversight of the programs and operations. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement and i will be pleased to answer any question that you are the members may have. >> thank you mr. sullivan. >> chairman darrell issa, ranking member and members of the committee. i am patrick sullivan at the epa. the oig investigation has included more than 40 interviews and a review of thousands of documents and in coordination
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with many law enforcement agencies. on september 27, he entered a plea of guilty to theft of government funds and activities relevant to the case began in 19881 the gentleman was hired as a consultant to epa by his close friend robert brunner and director of the office of policy review and continue until his retirement in april 2013. our investigation revealed that he engaged in the following misconduct. false official statements, time card fraud. incentive retention bonus shot and travel voucher fraud, false precision of a federal official and misuse of official government passport and his official personnel file includes misleading and false statements including a claim that he worked for a u.s. senator. bovary period of 22 years, he received an incentive bonus of the salary and authorized to receive the bonus, costing it
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approximately $500,000. the work of the clean air act in the early '90s gained prestige started in 1994 and he began the presentation of a cia employee lying to his wife and closest friends in addition to his colleagues and he told investigators that he perpetrated the slide to puff up the image of myself. investigation revealed that he was absent from the epa for long periods of time between 2000 and 2013. under his alleged cia cover. during this time he lied to several high-ranking officials about his work, including former assistant administrators as well. subsequent interviews conclude that the other epa executives became an open secret that he worked undercover for the cia
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and when gina mccarthy became an administrator in 2009, she was told during her orientation process and subsequently by the gentleman himself that he worked for the cia and additionally an executive assistant for callback he had told her that you need to stay there until his replacement had been covered and she responded that that is what movies are made of. when interviewed by the investigators, humidity taken off a total of 2.5 years for nonexistent work at a cost to taxpayers of roughly $300,000 and also stated that during these times he was working on the house riding his bicycle and reading books. concurrent with his frequent emphasis and absence from the epa, he received a cash award from including $20,000 on top of his salary and a retention incentive bonus and perpetuated the lie that he had contracted
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malaria during service in the u.s. army using it as another reason to obtain a handicapped parking and never served in vietnam. over time it cost the taxpayers approximately $18,000. he also committed travel card fraud -- excuse me, travel related fraud and we were able to confirm that you charge more than $80,000 in trips between 220,522,013 in all of these trips were fraudulent including visiting his elderly parents who live in bakersfield. including those that far exceeded the allowable government rate and for four nights in london, even though he had the opportunity to stay at a different hotel at $335 per night. when confronted by this outrage
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and he stated that even i am outraged at this. from approximately 1998 until his retirement in 2013, he claimed that he had a back injury and he provided medical documentation from a chiropractor supporting this claim. due to his undertaking extensive physical activities and many other deceptions, one example would be a first class ticket that is 14 times higher than the government was charged $14,000 for this one ticket as opposed to $1000 had he taken us. he's never held accountable when interviewed and those responsible acknowledged that the charges he submitted often seemed excessive, but they were never questioned because he was a highly respected epa sr. official based on his work with the cia and that concludes my
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remarks but i'm happy to answer questions at the appropriate time. >> thank you. mr. brenner? >> good morning, chairman darrell issa, and ranking member and distinguished numbers. i served as the director is policy analysis officer. >> can you pull them microphone closer? >> thank you. >> from 1988 into my retirement two years ago. i am voluntarily appearing before the committee today solely my individual capacity and i'm very proud of my current public service and michael buschmann and the competence of the team that i was a part of. my career was defined by the opportunity to play a role in the congressional passage and implementation of the bipartisan clean air act amendments of 1990 and legislation that has prevented millions of premature deaths and illnesses. during the implementation phase,
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the design and lead programs provided business opportunities for u.s. companies and supported technological innovation and reduced exposures for communities and monitored the clean air act cost of benefits for u.s. taxpayers and i'm also fortunate to have been well recognized for those emirates. i received a gold medal for the epa, meritorious and distinguished public service award from three different presidents and a distinguished career service from gina mccarthy and administrator lisa jackson. those accomplishments are far from mine alone. just as the many notes of thanks that we continue to receive him exceptional individuals that i recruited and managed and mentored during my 30 plus years of epa. in 19871 of the people that i included to assist with the
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efforts was john beal. we met at graduate school when he was working on both a masters degree in public affairs and a law degree as part of a scholarship program. and we became good friends and we worked together to identify recognized leaders of the area of energy and environmental policy and after graduate school we stayed in touch from the early 1980s until about 1989, we saw each other about once a year at a vacation home that week alone in massachusetts and i want to take this opportunity to describe john's recent production and why it is so inexpressible for his friends and colleagues, including me. the answers that was preceded by more than a decade of highly regarded work and not included the codirected working group during 1989 through 1990 clean air legislative process.
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he developed strong relationships on the hill and with stakeholders and became a participant in clean air strategy at the white house. after that he provided strategic advice to implement the clean air act and manage process that brought together the states in the environmental community to create the national vehicle program and he played a development of the posts here and then he became a highly regarded member and frequent leader of the international and environmental energy agreements and protocols. yet after 2000, this exceptional record turned into one that resulted in years of deception and hundreds of thousands of dollars of theft.
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based in part on his part that he worked for the cia and the question then becomes how could anyone at the epa believe that john was involved in national security work and the answer is it could've been anyone else but almost certainly would not have incredible. but john had established one of the track numbers that made him one of the highly regarded members of epa and he had served in the military and an undercover policeman and worked at the u.s. attorney's office in new york and we talk about the type of background that he has, someone that you would expect to have national security work. including the basis, i am saddened that his good works at the epa will be overshadowed by these unfortunate events. at this time, i am prepared to
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answer any questions. >> thank you. mr. beale, do you have any statements? >> thank you, no, i do not have an opening statement. >> before i go to the gentleman, it is my understanding that you may intend to assert your constitutional privilege to remain silent. is that correct? >> yes, it is, mr. chairman. the letters from september 23 and september 24, i think my attorney advised the committee of that fact and i will be asserting my fifth amendment privilege this morning. >> is it my understanding that you have already stated that you have pled guilty to the charges before you? >> mr. chairman, i respectfully have to make the same statement that i am asserting my fifth amendment privileges this morning. >> today's hearing cover the
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topics including u.s. epa inspector general's investigation of your employment at the epa is a senior policy adviser and you are uniquely qualified to provide testimony that will help us to better understand your conduct as an employee. to that end, i am asking that you consult with your attorney that although you have already pled guilty and by definition are not subject to prosecution for this very area that we are investigating, we do have a need to find out whether you were other individuals anticipated or in some way aided the ability to do this. those areas are clearly not subject protection for you
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against incrimination but of the legitimate requirements of government to ensure that this does not happen again. i would ask you to consult with your attorneys asked whether or not you are prepared to help with this investigation were whether having already pled guilty you have continued to assert he was being terminated from something you have already pled guilty to. please tell me your answer. >> mr. chairman, i would like to ask the same question. >> of course. >> was there a written agreement between the government and the gentleman? >> under federal rules, and guidelines are not mandatory to the plea agreement, but he did enter one. was there a requirement that listen for that at some point? >> it is my understanding that the cooperation is part of the reason for the sentencing not yet to happen tonight is there a
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transcript of the colloquy between him and the judge when he entered the plea? >> if the council can make is aware of that behind the gentleman. >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> it is my understanding that the we don't have the copyright now. >> if you could answer the question, it would be helpful for us to dispense with us. >> mr. chairman, there is no components the plea agreement. it is a plea agreement that does not require any additional testimony for information. >> did he receive a reduction for acceptance of responsibility?
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>> estimated at. >> was that acceptance. >> it was to plus one. >> is any part of that receiving this in the cooperation that does not include answering questions when he's not in jeopardy in a committee hearing. >> no, it only requires acceptance of responsibility as contemplated by the guidelines. >> i would love to have a copy of that and i'm sure that other attorneys would like to see it as well. >> thank you. >> i would like to interrupt the staff to get that and honestly it is of our interest that the u.s. attorney's office not not enter an agreement that is allowing what is occurring here. >> okay, do you have questions? >> i just want to indicate that
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mr. trey gowdy makes an excellent inquiry because this is part of the same thing. the letter of september 23, it says the council, for him to be part of the committee. this is a statement of the offense. >> without objection. the only other questions? >> now. >> one question, mr. chairman. >> council? >> please identify yourself. >> john curran on kern on behalf of mr. beale. >> okay, fine. any part of our problem here is that we are trying to prevent this from happening again and there is no requirement anywhere
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for him to cooperate with anyone with how he published what he accomplished and there is no requirement anywhere? >> no, there is not. >> okay, we will move forward and dispense with us. did you serve in vietnam? >> mr. chairman, i decline to answer the question on the basis on the advice of my attorney to assert my fifth amendment privilege. >> did you ever or do you know what did you ever serve at the central intelligence agency as an agent were operative or in any capacity in which you aided the cia? >> i respectfully decline to answer that question on my fifth amendment privilege. >> with that i have no choice but to relieve you of your
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position and we will escort you and your subject to a deposition and we are going to ask you to remain and monitor the entire hearings from a room that we are making available to you and your attorney and it is the intention of this committee to seek your return for purposes of for disclosure and we will do so so in concert with the u.s. attorney and obviously the trial judge. without we will take a two-minute recess so that we can reconvene the seating order. >> to something. i am hopeful, mr. chairman, that after sentencing we can bring him back. because we can get the kind of information that we need are the things that you talked about a little bit earlier, so we can
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get as much detail as possible and then he is not a jeopardy than hoping that while he is watching that he is aware that he will likely, and i'm assuming the chairman would have no objections. >> i agree with the gentleman in the reason is so he knows what is said here and the intent is to work with u.s. attorney's office and i believe that the appropriate arrangement should be prior to the sentencing as part of the plea bargaining and that is not my decision with your decision, but we will seek to work with the court, as you know. we delay this until after the plea bargain to make the closure for the attorney general of the ig's office in place. but we will take this two-minute recess and we will be right back and i thank you. >> okay. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the meeting will come to order. >> we welcome you for the opening statement. >> chairman darrell issa and all members of the committee who are here today, thank you for providing you the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the environmental protection agency's progress in
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addressing issues brought to life by the epa inspector general's ongoing investigation involving the former epa employee. as evidenced by the referral to the inspector general in our steadfast cooperation with the investigation, we approach this with great seriousness and we approach a corrective action aggressively to deal with the issues that were raised with fraudulent activity. as stewards of taxpayer resources, we take our responsibility to ensure that the federal funds are used for the appropriate and cost-effective mission. the recent inspector general's investigation as we know has identified a number of administrative processes which are listed in testimony just a few months ago that were either insufficient, or they were not being effectively used in what
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appears to be a calculated long-term fraud. while i have not been provided the details yet of the investigative findings, i am aware of the significant fraud, including pay limits and i'm not a racist government funded travel and in nearly all instances, policies and procedures in place, however a number of them may have been ignored and circumvented or undermined by the criminal conduct. at this time the epa is fully cooperating with the inspector general and looking forward to assessing findings to the improved the administrative changes including internal controls. while we are waiting for the inspector general's report and continue to cooperate with them, i do not want to wait to deal with some of the issues that we
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already know about. so in regards to the steps already taken as part of our ongoing process of improvements based on some of the pulmonary findings shared, i would like to outline a number of actions that we have begun to take. back last year and more recently this year, i directed the office of resource management and chief financial officers to conduct additional reviews of policies for attendance, including pay and travel and these reviews have resulted in strengthening of existing policies. we have strengthened the supervisory control and we have increased the oversight of time entry and approval practices, including generation of acceptance reports to system managers and show every employee whether they are there
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timekeeper entered the time and failed to enter this for three pay. and same quarter in any instance where they failed to approve this and these are now all available an exceptional reports and earn additional series of controls and these reports will enable the office of chief financial officer to work with employees, supervisors to correct or discover what issues may be. we have improved the review of employee travel, including a requirement now that 100% of travel vouchers will be audited and receipts will be submitted by the chief financial officer for payment is authorized. we have tightened the intention receptive processes requiring these to be entered into the human resource system with a not to exceed eight on the system generating a report that will
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require a human resource specialist to confirm recertification that has been received or end of the incentive payment. so i might add that there is nobody receiving incentive payments. we have also ensured a review by generating new controls to ensure compliance with the pay limits and these changes in policies and procedures will be supported by resources and supervisors and defined roles and responsibilities associated with our administrative processes as indicated previously in our agency is committed to strengthening accountability of resources entrusted to us by the taxpayers and we expect to be working with the inspector general as they do their administrative review of this current investigation that
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they will be providing us with additional recommendations beyond the ones that i have mentioned that we have implemented and i want to thank you for allowing me to represent the agency here today and i look forward to answering your questions. thank you. i recognize myself razors or questions. mr. sullivan, junior deputies in your investigations have uncovered not just the big lie, but these excess payments. were you able to discover whether this was a common overrun, allowing people to fly first class, you know, the nature -- you know, each of the violations that are unrelated to not showing up to work into the scope of your investigation include any other employees other than mr. peel? >> our investigation was targeting the gentleman for his
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alleged criminal conduct which was proven by his guilty plea and the question we are referring to now, i believe, is the bigger picture that we are engaged in the seven areas that mr. oken testified to. >> bpa is audited by an outside accounting firm. >> i do not know, sir. >> okay, so you don't know if they got a queen on it on the spending? >> my staff conducts the epa financial statement artist that is done in-house. >> so these were simply areas that were not audited -- thoroughly, obviously. >> the specific areas, no. >> the oddest paper include verifying whether you exclude this pay cap? >> no, we have not conducted an audit on that issue. >> okay. we have a purchase here.
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sir, does your accounting have someone who has paid more than the statutory maximum? >> yes, sir, it would. we have designed it and these improvements that we have been making and the ones we are implementing to deal with the most important findings that we know of so far. i want to point out that we expect to learn more. >> you have said some things, including anyone but mr. beale, you would not have considered his story credible. but is it not true that you are aware that the basic trips to domestic locations and expense accounts that were turned in, that you are also aware of the excess spending in excess epa guidelines under regulations?
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>> no, sir. i was not aware of that. >> mr. elkins was mr. sullivan, do your investigations review and approve a first class ticket for 10 times the cost? >> we interviewed the individual that signed the vouchers and she told us that because the status as an executive and because of his connection, she never actually looked at the vouchers the process from. >> so in other words at bpa, the undercover, supersecret status was known by a great many people. >> that is a fair statement, mr. chairman. >> when the founding fathers said that the only way to keep this between two people is for one to be dead, they did not understand how the epa can keep secrets including those who have no security clearances and whether people at the cia who had no high-ranking security clearance who orwell aware that
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he was with the cia? >> he has never had a security clearance. >> okay, but the people in hr that were approving these excess payments without looking at them, they were told that he was in the cia and it was an open secret that he was super clandestine. >> the folks may not have known that the people at his level
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