The news of Beale's plea sparked bipartisan blasts on Capitol Hill. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), called Beale’s action “outrageous” and credited EPA and the Justice Dept. for their investigation and its outcome. Boxer has scheduled a briefing on the Beale case on Sept. 30.

The Senate environment panel’s top Republican, David Vitter (La.), criticized EPA, saying, “This is a major failing within EPA, and no direct actions have been taken to guarantee this kind of abuse won’t happen again.”

Vitter added, “At minimum, $900,000 of the taxpayers’ money was stolen right under [current EPA] Administrator Gina McCarthy’s nose, so I want to know how vulnerable is the agency?”

McCarthy headed EPA’s air and radiation office from 2009 until July 2013, when she took office as EPA's chief.  An EPA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the Beale case.

In the House, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is weighing in with an Oct. 1 hearing on the matter. The panel titled the hearing “Secret Agent Man? Oversight of EPA’s IG Investigation of John Beale.”