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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.
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EPA’s ‘Moonlighting Spy:’ I Guess Greed Made Me Do It

A newly released transcript of a congressional deposition of John Beale, the Environmental Protection Agency attorney sentenced to 32 months in prison for falsely claiming his workplace absences were due to a moonlighting gig at the CIA, is not a totally satisfying read.

Beale was sentenced Dec. 18 for defrauding the government of nearly $900,000 in misreported hours that were spent on travel overseas and at his Massachusetts vacation home. The punishment: 32 months in federal prison, two years’ probation, 100 hours of community service, $886,000 in restitution, and another $507,000 in forfeiture.

The transcript, released with approval by both parties on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, shows Beale speaking admiringly of the smarts of his onetime boss, current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who had tapped him to be in the office more often to help her run the Office of Air and Radiation. (McCarthy, at the time assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, never directly quizzed him about his bogus CIA story but did revoke a bonus she decided was contrary to policy.)

Before McCarthy, the EPA general counsel and, eventually, its inspector general realized the fraud, Beale said he had ...

Making Newsletters Mobile-Friendly

If you’re among the hundreds of thousands of people who subscribe to one of our e-newsletters, you probably have noticed a difference in their appearance lately. We hope you’ve found that the change is for the better, especially if you’re among the rapidly growing number of subscribers who are doing their reading on a mobile device.

We’ve redesigned our newsletters to streamline their appearance and make sure that they display well not only on computer screens, but on smartphones and tablets, too. Over the past year, we’ve seen a big surge not only in our overall online traffic, but particularly in the number of people reading GovExec articles on mobile devices. As a result, we’ve also seen an increase in requests for newsletters that are more mobile-friendly.

We’ve responded by updating the format of the newsletters in a way that maximizes readability on devices ranging from desktop computers to smartphones. After experimenting with selected newsletters in recent months, we launched the redesign across all of our newsletters -- ranging from GovExec Today to Workforce Week -- last week.

We hope you like the change, and welcome your feedback.

Click here to see our full roster ...

A Crusader for Limited Government to the End

When most people leave Congress, especially after relatively long careers, they like to tout their legislative accomplishments to burnish their legacies. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is not your typical lawmaker, and as he gets set to retire from the Senate due to health issues, he's singing a different tune.

In a video message to his Oklahoma consituents announcing his retirement, Coburn focuses not on laws he helped pass -- even those that limited federal power and aimed to cut waste -- but on the measures he failed to prevent from becoming law.

"I have made a decision that I will return to Oklahoma as a private citizen, to live under the laws that I helped to write, and unfortunately under many laws which I hoped to have stopped, but couldn't," Coburn says in the video.

"Everyone wants Washington to change," Coburn adds, "and that means changing everyone in Washington." Including himself, apparently.

See Coburn's full message below.

Obama Lauds OMB Staffers

On Friday evening, President Obama signed into law the omnibus appropriations bill funding federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year. And he did so in an unusual location: the New Executive Office Building near the White House, and home to many of the employees of the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama told those employees said he chose to make the trek to the facility "because it represents the extraordinary work of so many of you."

In his remarks, Obama was effusive in his praise for OMB staffers and other federal employees throughout Washington's recent fiscal follies:

I know the Office of Management and Budget was one of the hardest hit during the sequester and a lot of you were furloughed.  A lot of you who remained during some of these furloughs had to carry extraordinary burdens, and so it took a personal toll on you and it took a personal toll on your family. ...

Across the board, our government is going to be operating without hopefully too many glitches over the next year.  And not only is that good for all of you and all the dedicated public servants in the federal government, but most importantly ...

Last Chance to Nominate a Peak Public Servant

If you know of someone who’s working above and beyond the call of duty in your organization, now is the time to try to get him or her for some recognition. Because time is just about up to nominate peak-performing public servants for this year’s Service to America medals.

Nominations are being accepted through midnight Friday for the awards, known as the Sammies, which are sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service. The medals are presented in eight categories, including Call to Service, Career Achievement, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement, and Science and Environment. The awards also honor a Federal Employee of the Year. All career civilian federal employees are eligible.

Winners are chosen based on the impact of their work on meeting the needs of the nation, on-the-job innovation, and commitment to public service. Finalists will be recognized at a Capitol Hill event during Public Service Recognition Week in the spring, and winners will be honored at a gala event in the fall. Last year’s event went on even in the face of the government shutdown.  

Click here for more information and to submit a nomination

(Image via rangizzz/Shutterstock.com)