Documents show government credit card charge for $14,799 for “Super Sport” 24-hour gym memberships for Vegas EPA employees
(Americans for Tax Reform) – Newly obtained documents show the EPA’s Las Vegas office used a government purchase card to charge nearly $15,000 for 24-hour gym memberships for employees. Courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.
The documents show the EPA office on the campus of UNLV charged U.S. taxpayers $14,799.63 on April 11, 2016 for 37 “1 Year Super Sport” packages at 24 Hour Fitness, which touts its facilities as “the ultimate daily retreat” complete with “thousands of square feet of spectacular workout space, complete with premium gym equipment, unmatched amenities and some of the best studio classes around.”
The Las Vegas EPA office made the purchase even though employees have access to the nearby state of the art 165,465-square foot fitness center on the UNLV campus. Local lifestyle magazine Vegas Seven named the UNLV facility as “Best Fitness Center” in the city and noted that it is “available not only to UNLV students but also Clark County residents.” The magazine praised the “large cardio center facing multiple television screens, a lap pool and spa, all kinds of weight machines, a 200-meter indoor running track, a four-court gym, and a café and juice bar.”
But this was apparently not good enough for the EPA.
According to the EPA Inspector General, this and several other agency purchases failed to comply with internal controls and procedures, “enough to warrant an audit because of noncompliance with existing controls.” The failures are documented here.
“The corruption and waste in the EPA ends now,” said Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist. “Those apologists who pretend that reducing waste and corruption in the EPA is an attack on Mother Earth stand exposed as the frauds they are. Ending corruption and self-enrichment is good for the environment and other living things.”
During his eight years in office President Barack Obama made the Environmental Protection Agency wholly unaccountable to American taxpayers. In doing so he fostered a culture of bureaucratic superiority within the agency such that EPA officials and employees were more concerned with reaping the newfound benefits of unchecked power and less about maintaining the integrity of their taxpayer funded activities, leading to historic levels of waste and abuse with taxpayers footing the bill.
The Las Vegas gym incident highlights the level of blatant disregard the EPA has for American taxpayers. It is representative of a culture of mismanagement from EPA officials in D.C. that has permeated federal and state operations.
The EPA’s actions in Nevada are only one example of myriad wasteful and improper employee actions that have been recorded ranging from drug use to timecard fraud. For instance, a senior EPA official was caught watching up to six hours of pornography on his government-issued computer during work hours, and had been doing so for almost four years during the Obama presidency. That official ironically received a number of performance awards during his time at the EPA.
The former Director of the EPA’s Office of Administration under Obama was caught selling jewelry and weight loss pills out of her office using her government e-mail account. That same employee hired 17 of her family members as paid interns, and paid her daughter, also an EPA employee, directly from her agency’s budget account. She was somehow given the Presidential Rank Award in 2010 under Obama for which she also awarded $35,000.
The culture of mismanagement and unaccountability at the EPA, and resulting waste of taxpayer funds, was promulgated under Obama and allowed to fester throughout his tenure.
Since taking office President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have vowed to get the EPA back to its core mission, and rein in government overreach and wasteful spending.
Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact John Kartch at 202-785-0266 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Column originally published at ATR.