EPA claims it has the power to garnish wages without court approval
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly claimed that it has the authority to unilaterally garnish the wages of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules.Got that? The EPA - the agency that, may I remind you, was paying one of its employees a full time salary, even thought that employee only worked four days a week, because the employee claimed to be a CIA operative - can, without anything resembling due process, just start garnishing your wages over fines they levied. This, mind you, is after they select the venue and decide who's going to hear the case.
According to The Washington Times, the agency announced the plan to enhance its purview last week in a notice in the Federal Register. The notice claimed that federal law allows the EPA to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order."
Now, one thing I don't get - and I haven't seen any news reports that delineate this - is how the EPA actually gets around to fining *people*. It would seem to me that for an individual to be fined, they'd have to be charged with a crime, right? Wouldn't, then, the process for collecting such fines reside in the court system? I don't see how an individual would be in a position to be fined by the EPA, but not facing legal action?
I mean, I understand why a company might get a fine, since it's not like you can just arrest an entire corporation for violating the Clean Air Act or something like that. But in order to garnish wages - as opposed to earnings - that implies that it's an action aimed at a particular individual, in which case my question above stands. Maybe there's something I'm missing, but it sure seems like the EPA's on a big 'ol power grab here.
Of course, the EPA's shakedown take going from $96 million to $250+ million over the course of Obama's administration is purely a coincidence, right?
That is all.