A White House official convicted for videotaping and photographing up women’s skirts on government time received numerous rapid promotions and pay increases in a short time, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. It marks yet another case of a handsomely paid senior government employee behaving badly. In this case, the public official rose through the ranks unusually fast during the Obama administration until he got arrested for taking up-skirt pictures and videos of random women on the escalators of the Washington D.C. metro.
The records obtained by Judicial Watch include an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report for the agency he worked at, salary and bonus data and court records. The disgraced official, William Mendoza, was Obama’s Director of White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaskan Native Education and he committed the crimes while using government train benefits on taxpayer-funded time. Mendoza was first appointed to the Education Department as a “Special Assistant” on January 31, 2011 through an “exceptional appointment,” which is government lingo for political appointments, the records show. After only eight months on the job Mendoza was promoted from “Special Assistant” to “Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities,” increasing his salary from $71,674 to $84,697 plus $20,514 locality pay.
Weeks after that swift promotion Mendoza was bumped up from Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities to the more prestigious Executive Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Native Alaskan Education, increasing his salary from $84,697 to $99,628 plus $24,130 locality pay even though he remained in the same location, Washington, D.C. A year later Mendoza received another promotion, hiking his taxpayer-funded salary from $99,628 to $102,949 plus $24,934 locality pay. The following year Mendoza was promoted again, and his annual salary increased to $106,270 plus $25,739 locality pay. The records show that twelve months later Mendoza got another promotion that boosted his salary to $110,686 per year in addition to $26,808 locality pay.
By the time Mendoza was forced to resign over his arrest for voyeuristic acts he had risen to Director of White House Initiative on American Indian and Native Alaskan Education, earning $140,892 per year and $27,980 locality pay adjustment for living in the D.C. area. During this curiously rapid ascent in government, Mendoza was busy violating D.C. criminal code, federal statutes and Education Department polices with his creepy voyeuristic activities. The Education Department’s OIG report of the investigation into Mendoza’s arrest found that Mendoza “while utilizing government SmarTrip…was taking, or attempting to take, photographs/video under the skirts of women with a type of smart phone while utilizing the Metro Transit System.” The watchdog concluded that Mendoza had “engaged in criminal conduct while on government work time and/or while utilizing government transit benefits.” Mendoza violated D.C. criminal code, federal statutes and agency policies and misused government property and committed “ED Code of Conduct violations,” the OIG found. In 2017 Mendoza pleaded guilty to attempted voyeurism in D.C. Superior Court and was sentenced to 90 days incarceration, a year of supervised probation and a $100 fine. The Education OIG requested that he be debarred from future federal employment.
The Mendoza debacle brings to mind a similar case involving an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who scammed Uncle Sam out of nearly $1 million in pay without working and got service and salary awards throughout his lengthy career as a climate policy expert. Judicial Watch obtained records that show the veteran EPA official, John Beale, defrauded the government by claiming to be a “secret agent” for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and going on long vacations that he said were CIA missions while employed at the EPA. While he committed the fraud the EPA regularly rewarded him with “Special Act or Service Awards” that included cash and time off, the records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. He received thousands of dollars in bonuses for his performance as well as a “Time Off Award.” The bad behavior earned Beale the ultimate reward, a promotion as White House “Senior Policy Advisor.”