It’s no secret that the federal government has an issue with waste, and that issue is further evidenced by a recent audit revealing that the Environmental Protection Agency spent $690,000 on unused parking spaces for its employees.
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First reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a 42-page report from its audit assessing the agency’s subsidization of employee parking. According to the report, the agency spent $1.5 million to subsidize parking for employees in its Washington, D.C., headquarters and Atlanta office from Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, or two years.
About 29 percent of the spaces in the D.C. headquarters remained unused, while 27 percent of the parking spaces went unfilled at the Atlanta office. According to the report, “The EPA paid approximately $690,000 for these unoccupied parking spaces,” meaning roughly 46 percent of the $1.5 million total was spent for no benefit.
EPA staffers attempted to defend their spending by citing a non-existent federal law, according to the audit report:
EPA staff stated that federal laws allowed the agency to provide parking subsidies to employees. However, Executive Order 13693 touts federal air quality goals, and no law requires subsidized parking to be a mandatory employee benefit. Consequently, the EPA was using valuable resources to subsidize employee parking when the funds could be put to better use in mission-critical programs.
The report also stated that just over half of the parking spaces were given to “Senior Executive Service employees, who are among the EPA’s highest paid employees.”
The wasteful spending occurred while the agency was under the direction of former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who was appointed by former President Obama in 2009. She has since been replaced as administrator by Scott Pruitt.