By Carlo Muñoz - 08/24/13 07:53 PM EDT
Sen. David VitterDavid VitterTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense David Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate MORE (R-La.) is spearheading calls for a congressional investigation into recent federal fraud charges against a former top official at the Environmental Protection Agency.
"There appears to be corruption to the umpteenth degree," at the EPA, Vitter said in a statement Saturday.
"It’s clear that further investigations are necessary, and at the appropriate time we’ll need answers – a whole lot of answers," he added.
Former EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator John Beale is accused of stealing a total of $886,186 between 2000 and April of this year.
The thefts occurred when Beal was serving as the head of the agency's Office of Air and Radiation division, according to court documents.
The Louisiana Republican did not include details as to when an investigation into the Beale case could begin. But with lawmakers expected to return to Washington in September, hearings into the matter could be called as soon as next month.
Vitter has been a staunch adversary of the agency since taking the No. 2 spot on the Senate environment panel.
In July, Vitter dropped his threat to filibuster President Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Overnight Energy: Officials close in on new global emissions deal EPA chief: US, negotiators nearing new emissions deal MORE to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
Vitter dropped his filibuster threat only after forcing the White House and Senate Democrats to back "commitments" to be more transparent regarding the agency's operations.
"These are huge, significant steps forward to bringing transparency to the agency," Vitter said at the time.
"I see no further reason to block Gina McCarthy’s nomination, and I’ll support moving to an up-or-down vote on her nomination,” the Louisiana Republican added.