CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington, D.C. — Deputy Assistant EPA Administrator Nancy Beck appears to have actively participated in a rulemaking process for which she has a conflict of interest rather than recusing herself, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Before her appointment to the EPA earlier this year, Beck was a top official at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade association of chemical manufacturers. During her time at the ACC, Beck filed comments on proposed EPA regulations for chemical risk evaluation and prioritization programs which are still pending at the agency. Despite the fact that an agency official advised Beck to recuse herself from decisions involving her former employer, Beck was reportedly “very involved” in the rulemakings, and almost certainly participated in meetings, discussions, and decisions involving her past employer.
“The fact that Beck remained involved in matters involving a past employer presents a grave conflict of interest,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “On an important public safety issue, we don’t know whether she was acting to serve the American people or the industry that employed her for years.”
Government officials may not participate in any specific party matter involving a former employer for a year after leaving, unless given authorization from the agency ethics official. Despite seeking permission to participate in specific matters involving the ACC, Beck was advised to recuse herself from participating in meetings, discussions, or decisions involving the ACC.
“Beck’s refusal to take ethics rules seriously is deeply troubling, but it is unfortunately consistent with this administration’s approach to ethics and industry influence,” Bookbinder said. “This lack of concern for following ethics regulations has become a pattern, and it is cause for serious concern.”
CREW also asked the OIG to review the EPA’s decision, made after Beck’s apparent violation, to allow her to fully participate in rulemaking matters involving the ACC going forward.