Monday, June 16, 2014

No Retreat for Veteran EPA Whistleblower in Era of 'Harsher and Vicious' Retaliation -

No Retreat for Veteran EPA Whistleblower in Era of 'Harsher and Vicious' Retaliation -

U.S. EPA senior policy analyst Hugh Kaufman, a kind of living legend in the world of federal whistleblowers, was disappointed this week when he read of California Republican Darrell Issa's plans to make the Wikileaks controversy a top issue for his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the 112th Congress.

In his 40 years at EPA, Kaufman, 68, has been involved in a half dozen of the most high profile whistleblower cases that have come out of the agency. He has gone toe-to-toe with top administration officials, been tailed by investigators at the request of agency brass and, for the past decade, has been involved in a retaliation suit that at one point saw EPA lawyers file 5,800 pages' worth of documents in response to his discovery requests.
While he has been called a hero by some environmental activists, he has also been described as "a publicity hound of the highest order" by a former agency spokesman with whom he tangled.
A former EPA staffer who spent decades at the agency said he remembered Kaufman more for his cult of personality rather than for any issues that he championed.
There is also the theory that Kaufman may have inoculated himself from future retaliation after taking on, and beating, agency officials in the controversy that eventually led to the resignation of Administrator Ann Gorsuch in 1983.
During her time as administrator, Gorsuch was blamed by environmentalists for cutting EPA's budget, curtailing its enforcement power and delaying funding for Superfund cleanups of hazardous-waste sites. Gorsuch stepped down after receiving a contempt citation from Congress for refusing to cooperate with an investigation involving subpoenaed Superfund documents.
At the time, Kaufman firmly established his reputation as a whistleblower by criticizing EPA's performance handling hazardous-waste issues.

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