EPA Corruption at the Top and Response From Below Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Guerrilla Government and the EPA

Guerrilla government within the EPA grew out of a response to various failed administrations, which were led by men who did not approach their leadership position with the type of virtue and character that those passionate about the environment and the organization would have preferred to see. Thus, under Russell, for example, the EPA had become a shell of what it was supposed to be, with Russell using EPA funds for self-pleasure and even blocking clean-ups and environmental action for occurring as in the case of the smelter complex in Idaho (O'Leary, 2014, p. 61). The ethics issue that Russell violated was his lack of transparency, which resulted in dishonesty among the administration and a failure to live up to the expectations of the mission of the EPA by getting in bed with big business instead of holding business's toes to the fire and demanding that they clean-up their salvage sites in Idaho (O'Leary, 2014, p. 61).

The ethics issues that the political appointees faced in this case was dishonesty overall. Conflict of interest abounded, as both Russell and Spencer attempted to steep the EPA in with big business, ensuring that no real policing of business protections for the protection of communities and the environment would occur (O'Leary, 2014, p. 48). Thus, Russell was guilty of acts affecting a personal financial interest when he purchased photographs of himself with EPA funds after his resignation (O'Leary, 2014, p. 60; United States Office of Government Ethics, 2015, p. 19). Likewise, using public money for self purposes as Russell did was a violation of Federal Ethical Law 18 U.S.C. § 641 on public money, property and records (United States Office of Government Ethics, 2015, p. 82).

Career employees were likely motivated to use guerrilla tactics as a solution despite the risk to their careers because they were truly more concerned about the corruption at the top and the negative impact it was having on the world, the environment and the society than they were about their careers. These were not selfish people but rather individuals with a true and honest concern about the objectives that their organization was supposed to strive to meet. I believe their choice of guerrilla action was ethical because there was no alternative: when the men at the top are acting in a corrupt manner, one has to bring them to justice by appealing to a third party. In this case, guerrillas within the EPA were "lining up" outside the office of the auditor of the Inspector General's office to give evidence and testimony against Russell (O'Leary, 2014, p. 61).

These actions affected the organization and public policy by drawing light to what was going on in the EPA -- but they…

Sources Used in Document:


O'Leary, R. (2014). The ethics of dissent: Managing guerrilla government (2nd ed.).

Washington, DC: CQ Press

U.S. Office of Government Ethics. (2000). A brief wrap on government ethics. Retrieved from https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ethics_brief_3.pdf

U.S. Office of Government Ethics. (2015). OGE Publishes Updated Compilation of Federal Ethics Laws. Retrieved from https://www2.oge.gov/"

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