Federal prosecutors say that for 12 years, Environmental Protection Agency official John C. Beale got away with ripping off taxpayers.
He collected nearly $900,000 in salary - and performance bonuses - to which he was not entitled.
Beale, who had been a senior policy adviser in the Office of Air and Radiation, was absent from his job frequently. He told co-workers he was engaged in ''top-secret'' tasks for another government agency.
He wasn't. But for 12 years, no one checked up on him. Again, his superiors even gave him performance bonuses.
Perhaps EPA officials should pay as much attention to cleaning up their bureaucracy as to killing jobs through draconian pollution regulations.