EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has issued an agency-wide memo telling employees he expects them to make whistleblowing type disclosures and that they are to cooperate with the agency’s IG during its investigations.

“I continue to expect all employees to report fraud, waste and abuse to the OIG. Employees should report the following types of conduct: theft of EPA funds, misuse of contract or grant funds, misuse of EPA equipment or assets for personal gain, falsification of EPA reports or records, serious employee misconduct or participation in EPA program fraud. Each employee taking the responsibility to report activity to the OIG that appears wasteful or illegal is one of the most important and successful means the OIG has for identifying and stopping wrongdoing,” it says.

Further, employees “are not required to obtain permission from or inform managers before they speak with the OIG representative during audits, evaluations, investigations or other OIG reviews. Staff may, at their own discretion, contact their manager with any questions regarding their responsibility to cooperate with the OIG or their scheduling of meetings with the OIG unless, in the context of an investigation, they are requested not to do so by the OIG.”

Regarding cooperation, the memo said: “It is imperative and expected that agency personnel provide the OIG with access to personnel, facilities and records, in addition to other information or material that the OIG needs to accomplish its mission. Because I recognize that providing information to the OIG may raise concerns about the improper public release of information, I will work closely with the OIG to prevent such disclosures and to protect EPA employees from any unfair or disrespectful treatment.

“The OIG is committed to honoring requests for confidentiality — to the extent the law permits — and to handling all EPA documents and information in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, the OIG will continue to respect the multiple demands that managers and staff face on a daily basis and, whenever possible, accommodate scheduling difficulties or other time constraints.”