May 15, 2013
Sentencing postponed for Scott Bloch, former head of the Office of Special Counsel
The Washington Post reports: The legal case for Scott J. Bloch, the former head of the federal agency that protects government whistleblowers, continued Monday when a federal judge balked at proceeding with sentencing because of what he called an “improperly sanitized version of events.”
Bloch, the Bush-era head of the Office of Special Counsel, pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor charge of destroying government property when he ordered the deletion of office computer files by private technicians.
Bloch admitted in 2010 that he had not given House investigators complete information about an incident in which he hired a company called Geeks on Call to scrub computers at the Office of Special Counsel. At the time, Bloch had been accused of retaliating against his staff and closing whistleblower cases without proper investigation. He has maintained that he was trying to deal with a computer virus.
Bloch was initially sentenced to 30 days in jail, but a federal judge allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea because neither side in the case had been aware that the offense required a sentence of jail time.
Congress to Investigate Whether IRS Employees Mishandled Sensitive Data
House and Senate lawmakers plan to investigate whether tax agency officials exploited stored sensitive information about conservative political organizations that filed for tax-exempt status, congressional aides said on Tuesday.
The IRS apologized May 10 for applying extra scrutiny to groups whose names included words such as "tea party" and "patriot" when vetting the organizations for compliance with tax laws. It’s not clear if IRS employees with computer privileges mishandled sensitive information related to the targeted organizations, such as disclosing donor lists to unauthorized individuals. A draft inspector general timeline outlining the evolution of the policy on reviewing tax-exempt applications obtained by Nextgov states IRS officials decided certain sensitive data could be expunged. “The requested donor information could be destroyed . . . It does not need to be kept in the administrative file,” the government documents state.So far, there have been no indications agency personnel violated data protection rules for tax documents. Nonetheless, abuse of the conservative groups’ information is a worry, according to staff for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. The aides said lawmakers plan to address the issue at a committee hearing Friday on the IRS’s political profiling of applicants for tax-exempt status.
May 10, 2013
Bill Proposes to Lift Ban on Federal Conferences in Resort Towns
A bipartisan group of House members from Nevada want to eliminate bans on federal agencies holding conferences in casinos or resort locations. The bill—proposed by Republican Reps. Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, and Democratic Reps. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford—says such prohibitions are counterproductive and unfairly target areas with high numbers of resort and vacation locations.
The lawmakers say agencies are moving to more expensive venues because they want to “avoid any stigma associated with the ‘resort or ‘casino’ name,” even when these sites may actually provide federal agencies and taxpayers a better deal. “These prohibitions emphasize optics over real fiscal restraint,” Amodei said in a statement.
The proposed legislation comes a little more than a year after revelations the General Services Administration dropped $820,000 on a 2010 training conference in Las Vegas. Several agency executives were dismissed or resigned from their positions in the aftermath of the scandal, including former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, and agencies across government tightened their travel and conference spending.
Some agencies, including those within the Agriculture, Justice and Homeland Security departments, have implemented formal bans prohibiting travel to resort locations.
May 03, 2013
Commerce agents plead guilty to fraud against agency
Two former Commerce agents who allegedly accused superiors of wrongdoing pleaded guilty Tuesday to filing false expense claims and clocking hours they didn’t work, according to the Justice Department.
Rachel Ondrik, 35, of Frederick and Kirk Yamatani, 38, of Ashburn, who worked as special agents for the inspector general’s office of the Commerce Department, sought payment for more than $36,000 each in false relocation expenses, according to their plea agreements.The former agents also committed time and attendance fraud, the Justice Department said. As part of their pleas, Ondrik and Yamatani agreed to probation and $42,000 each in fines and restitution to the government.
May 01, 2013
Charges Filed in Contract Fraud Probe
Kathleen McGrade was a contract specialist inside the State Department, but prosecutors say she didn’t live like one. Steering tens of millions of dollars in work to a company controlled by her husband, McGrade bought a yacht, penthouse condo and lots of jewelry, according to charges unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Virginia.
McGrade, 64, and her husband, Brian C. Collinsworth, 46, both of Fredericksburg, Va., face up to 20 years in prison on charges stemming from what authorities called a “secret scheme” by the couple to steer more than $60 million to a company they controlled.
April 23, 2013
Committee Wants Update on Postal Regulatory Commission Travel Spending
Leaders of a Senate oversight committee are requesting follow-up information on travel expenditures at the Postal Regulatory Commission. Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, made the request in a letter to PRC Chairwoman Ruth Goldway.
The chairwoman came under fire last year after an investigation revealed she had spent more than $70,000 on travel since taking the position in August 2009. “The Postal Service lost nearly $16 billion and recently reached its $15 billion borrowing limit with Treasury,” Carper and Coburn wrote in the letter. “Difficult financial times such as these demand both innovative solutions and leadership by example.”
The senators asked that Goldway provide their committee with details on what changes to travel policy PRC has made, as well as a list of all trips made in calendar years 2012 and 2013. They also asked for costs -- or estimated costs for future trips -- of all business travel.
April 22, 2013
24 Current and Former IRS Employees Charged With Stealing Government Benefits
Federal and Tennessee state prosecutors on Wednesday charged 24 current and former Internal Revenue Service employees with “fraudulently obtaining more than $250,000 in government benefits.”
According to a statement released by the office of U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III, federal authorities charged 13 individuals with “falsely [stating] that they were unemployed,” while applying for and obtaining numerous federal benefits including unemployment insurance, money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Housing Choice vouchers.
If convicted, the accused could face up to five years in prison under the law. Stanton said the case demonstrated the Justice Department’s “unwavering resolve” to work with law enforcement and “hold accountable anyone” for fraudulently claiming government benefits.
April 18, 2013
GSA Appeals Official's Reinstatement, but Restores His Pay
The General Services Administration late Monday announced it is appealing an administrative judge’s March ruling reversing the agency’s year-old decision to remove Paul Prouty as a regional commissioner of the scandal-tarnished Public Buildings Service.
Acting just before an April 15 deadline, GSA agreed to return Prouty to the position he lost with other top officials after disclosure of overspending by the PBS at a 2010 training conference held in Las Vegas. Though Prouty, who lives in Denver, Colo., will regain full back pay and benefits while the appeal proceeds, he will be placed on administrative leave due to a determination that his presence in the workplace would be “unduly disruptive to the work environment,” according to GSA.
“GSA has taken strong action against those officials whom we believe were responsible and will continue to do so where appropriate,” said GSA spokeswoman Mafara Hobson. “Over the past year, the agency has saved nearly $30 million in conference and travel spending as a result of strict internal reforms and oversight.”
April 17, 2013
New policies may change MWAA executives’ travel practices
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has earned praise from Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for changes to the authority’s travel and ethics policies after revelations that some board members spent lavishly on plane tickets and meals.
Documents detailing the expenses of top MWAA executives, however, show that some of them have similarly pricey tastes and, under new policies, may have to cut back on their business travel and meal expenses.
During the 15-month period covered by the documents, at least four top MWAA officials — the vice presidents for air-service development, finance and business administration and the now-former vice president for information and telecommunication services — each filed more than $10,000 in expenses. One MWAA vice president purchased a plane ticket that cost $12,000, according to the records, which were obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act. By contrast, John E. “Jack” Potter, the MWAA’s president and chief executive, spent just under $3,500 during the time covered by the documents.
None of the expenses appear to violate the MWAA policies in place at the time, but they add new context to the controversy that erupted last summer over the expenses of another top MWAA official.
April 12, 2013
Contractor pleads guilty in bribery, bid-rigging case
A northern Virginia technology contracting firm and its former president pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington to bribery charges in what prosecutors call the largest bid rigging scam in federal contracting history.
The company, Nova Datacom, admitted paying more than $15 million in bribes to three officials in the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army, according to prosecutors. The investigation found more than $30 million bilked by corrupt contractors and officials through inflated and bogus invoices.
Nova Datacom’s former president, Min Jung Cho, 44, faces up to five years in prison and the company faces up to $79.2 million in fines. No sentencing date has been set. The ringleader of the scam, former Army Corps contracting official Kerry Khan, has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing in July. In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen said 15 individuals have pleaded guilty in the investigation.
Mitch McConnell Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Leaked Ashley Judd Tape
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been hit with an ethics complaint after a leaked tape revealed he was discussing with aides how to take on potential opponent Ashley Judd.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked the Senate ethics committee and the FBI to investigate whether McConnell was having a discussion about potential Judd weaknesses -- including her mental health and religion -- on government time.“Using taxpayer-funded resources to pay staffers to dig up dirt on political opponents isn’t just an ethics violation, it’s a federal crime,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “As Sen. McConnell requested, the FBI is investigating the recording. A thorough and fair investigation necessitates the bureau also inquire into whether Sen. McConnell himself violated the law.”
April 02, 2013
Former Army Corps of Engineers Program Manager to be Sentenced for Contracting Scam
Former Army Corps of Engineers program manager Kerry Khan pleaded guilty in May 2012 to bribery and contract bid-rigging charges and will be sentenced this July.In all, Khan and his associates had illegally pocketed more than $30 million in kickbacks and bribes over almost five years. When authorities finally arrested Khan in October 2011, he had been planning an even bigger scheme to steer a nearly $1 billion federal contract.
Here is how Khan's operation generally worked: Contractors involved in the scheme submitted bogus invoices, which the Army Corps — with Khan’s help — paid out. In exchange, the money from those invoices went to payoffs and kickbacks through various businesses, records show. The kickback scheme involved a big Army Corps contract known as TIGER, for Technology for Infrastructure, Geospatial and Environmental Requirements. Until their arrests in fall 2011, Khan and others planned to steer another nearly $1 billion contract known as CORES, for Contingency Operations Readiness Engineering and Support, prosecutors said. During one of the early court hearings in the case, Michael Atkinson, an assistant U.S. attorney, said the operation centered on an informal holding company, which he called “Khan Incorporated.” “Of course, the public did not know that it was investing in Khan Incorporated, since the money that was used to fund Khan Incorporated was stolen,” he said. Among others who pleaded guilty were Khan’s brother, Nazim Khan, and son, Lee Khan.
March 25, 2013
Michele Bachmann Faces Congressional Ethics Probe
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for alleged misuse of campaign funds, as first reported by the Daily Beast.
An OCE investigation is a preliminary probe; the office can either dismiss a case or recommend a full House Ethics Committee investigation. Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s national field coordinator in the 2012 presidential race, has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging that the lawmaker’s campaign improperly used leadership PAC funds to pay presidential campaign staff.
March 14, 2013
March Madness! Ethics Guidance
IEC member Paul Conrad shares the annual March Madness ethics guidance- thanks Paul!
The guidance may be found here Download March Madness 2013
February 15, 2013
Georgia Man Admits Taking Bribes to Allow $1 Million Theft of Government Equipment from Marine Base
A retired employee of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB-Albany) pleaded guilty today to receiving bribes in exchange for allowing heavy equipment to be stolen from the base for resale.
Shelby C. Janes, 67, of Albany, Ga., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in the Middle District of Georgia to one count of bribery of a public official.
During his guilty plea, Janes, the former civilian inventory control manager of the distribution management center at MCLB-Albany, admitted to participating in a scheme in which he assisted an individual, referred to in court documents as “Person A,” in stealing heavy equipment – such as cranes, bulldozers and front-end loaders – from the base. Person A, the owner of a commercial trucking business that was routinely contracted by the MCLB’s Defense Logistics Agency, then arranged to sell the equipment to private purchasers.At sentencing, Janes faces a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of twice the gain or loss from the offense. As part of his plea agreement with the United States, Janes agreed to forfeit the bribe proceeds he received from the scheme, as well as to pay full restitution to the Department of Defense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
November 14, 2012
Former Commander, U.S. Africa Command, to Retire at Lower Rank for Misuse of Gov't Funds
A DOD news release states General William E. Ward (O-10), former commander of U.S. Africa Command, should be retired at the grade of Lieutenant General (0-9) in light of substantiated claims he misused approximately $82,000 in government equipment and funds.
In June 2012, the Department of Defense Inspector General issued a report of investigation substantiating that Gen. Ward had engaged in numerous acts of misconduct related to misuse of government funds during his tenure as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Since departing U.S. Africa Command, by operation of law Gen. Ward reverted to the grade of Major General (0-8) and is currently serving as a special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff in that grade.
October 26, 2012
HHS Employee Sentenced for Misusing Government Charge Card
A Health and Human Services Department employee was sentenced by a federal judge this week to six months in prison for using government charge cards to buy more than $114,000 worth of personal items, according to a Justice Department release.Justice said Jihan S. Cover, a purchasing agent with the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute from 2006 through 2011, used her government charge card to make hundreds of personal purchases totaling $114,494. She spent $16,000 on Amazon and $29,000 in payments to a variety of payday loan vendors, Justice said. She also made $47,000 in payments to personal accounts created on PayPal, the department said.
October 25, 2012
Nonprecedential Decision From U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit Affirms Removal of Navy Employee for Misuse of Gov't Travel Card
The Court's decision may be found at the following link:
Additional background of the case may also be found in the FedSmith article posted in April.
September 19, 2012
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Helicopter Used for Dance Invitation
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials are investigating claims that one of its helicopters was used to help a teenager invite a girl to homecoming.
While on a routine mission over northern Virginia last Wednesday, a CBP helicopter was allegedly used by a Department of Homeland Security employee to fly over his son’s high school and drop a stuffed animal with the invitation, NBCWashington.com reported.
September 04, 2012
House Ethics Committee Extends Investigation of New Jersey Congressman
The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it will take more time to review allegations that a congressman representing New Jersey misused campaign funds by spending them on personal expenses, including a family trip to Scotland and a high school graduation party for his daughter.
The committee also released a detailed report on the practices of Democratic U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews that it received in March from the Office of Congressional Ethics. That report found there is “substantial reason to believe” that Andrews inappropriately used campaign funds to take his family to Scotland for a wedding, to make multiple trips to California and for a party held in honor of the high school graduation of one of his daughters and the 20th anniversary of his congressional service. All were in 2011.
As it released the report, the Ethics Committee said it does not indicate that there was a violation.
April 16, 2012
More fall out from GSA conference scandal
Here are some additional articles relaying more information on the GSA conference scandal:
- AP reports on 4 Congressional hearings due this week. http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?full=true&contentguid=dcT0ukeB&detailindex=#display
- GovExec reports on emails which show organization was unsure whether to give official bonus or reprimand for lavish conference: http://www.govexec.com//oversight/2012/04/gsa-leaders-disagreed-reprimand-lavish-conference-lawmakers-say/41770/
- FedTimes reports that GSA IG referred the matter to Justice for consideration of criminal charges (likely in procurement area). http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120413/DEPARTMENTS07/204130302/1001
March 31, 2012
Removal for misuse of Govt Credit Card sustained
In a non-precedential decision, the Federal Circuit sustained the MSPB's decision sustaining removal for misconduct--misuse of a govt credit card. The case, which included remand for procedural issues, includes creative arguments from pro se appellant about not receiving sufficient training on use of the card. See full decision at: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/11-3229.pdf
February 13, 2012
Ethics Related News
- A former IRS employee used his knowledge of the IRS for personal gain, and received a 9 year sentence as well as an order to repay $30,649. Read the DOJ press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/February/12-tax-193.html
- US Postal Service defense its use of official travel. See GovExec article: http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2012/02/postal-regulator-defends-travel-records-after-senator-demands-details/41162/
January 25, 2012
Former CIA employee indicted for disclosing classified information
"A former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, was charged today with repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities, Justice Department officials announced." See the full DOJ press release at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/January/12-ag-083.html.
December 29, 2011
Dept. of Education IG Investigates Misuse of Information
POGO selected a lengthy POGO blog post discusses an investigation by Department of Education Inspector General Kathy Tighe into improper use of government information as one of its top 10 posts of 2011. Here's an excerpt:
Among other things, Tighe will examine whether confidential DoED information and draft documents, including one produced by her own office, were transferred to Wall Street short-sellers seeking informational advantage in their bets on the future of the $35 billion for-profit education industry. Beyond the propriety of the Education Department's conduct, the phenomenon raises broader questions about the integrity of government decision-making in the face of relentless Wall Street scrutiny.
The case is also among the latest high-profile examples of Wall Street or individual investors trying to access non-public government information. Another involves a Food and Drug Administration chemist who in March was alleged to have misappropriated confidential agency information about drug tests to make $3.6 million in the stock market.
November 15, 2011
Presidential Executive Order: PROMOTING EFFICIENT SPENDING
On Nov. 9, 2011, the President signed an executive order to promote efficient spending in the Executive Branch. See EO at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/09/executive-order-promoting-efficient-spending. The EO is part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, and coincided with the announcement of the 2011 SAVE Award finalist. See WH press release: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/09/we-cant-wait-president-obama-sign-executive-order-cut-waste-and-promote-.
Within 45 days, agencies must develop plans to reduce combined costs in the following areas to 20 percent below Fiscal Year 2010 levels by Fiscal Year 2013.
- Reduce Spending on Travel and Conferences.
- Cut Duplicative and Unnecessary Employee Information Technology Devices
- End Unnecessary Printing and Put It Online
- Limit Motor Vehicles
- Stop Swag – or Government Promotional Handouts
October 31, 2011
DOJ IG revises Conference "muffin" report
As a result of the responses and clarifications to the September IG report suggesting that DOJ approved and paid for $16.80 muffins at a 2009 conferences, the DOJ IG revised and reissued the report, superceding its prior report. While the clarifications corrected the factual misstatements that the muffins at the given conference were $16.80 each, it still concludes that attention must be given to reducing excessing conference costs. See DOJ revised report: http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/plus/a1143.pdf; and GovExec article: http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=49168&dcn=e_gvet.
September 22, 2011
White House orders agencies to review policies on conferences
The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General just released an audit report which assessed the Department's expenditures related to conferences. The report reviewed a sampling of conferences held by the Department between October 2007 and September 2009, showing excessive spending on conferences food and beverage items, such as $16 for a muffin. See report: http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/plus/a1143.pdf. See also the Washington Post article on the same: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-16-muffin-justice-dept-audit-finds-wasteful-and-extravagant-spending/2011/09/20/gIQAXKyhiK_story.html.
In response to the audit report, OMB issued a directive for all agencies to review policies related to conferences, to try to eliminate excessive spending and promote efficiencies in conferences. See http://www.govexec.com/pdfs/092111ts1.pdf.
Ethics related news
Here are some news item with ethics related topics:
- DOJ Press release on Former Army Corps of Engineer pleading guilty to accepting bribes on Iraqi contracts. See http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/September/11-crm-1207.html
- SOCO Advisory 11-04 is available in the Ethics Resource Library at: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/2011_Advisories/advisory_1104.htm. Topics include: 1. Hatch Act Guidance for Civilian Employees; 2. 2011 National Emergency Extended by President; 3. Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure update; & 4. Combined Federal Campaign.
July 24, 2011
DOJ Response to AUSA Viewing Pornography at WorkDepartment of Justice response to a Senatorial inquiry concerning an assistant U.S. attorney discovered to have viewed pornography while at the office:
"As a general practice, when there are criminal allegations of misconduct involving an assistant U.S. attorney, those matters are sent to a different office to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. The department took immediate and appropriate action in this case and the AUSA ceased working in the district in late April 2011 and left federal service in early May 2011."
July 21, 2011
News items of interest:
- State Dept. contracting officer under investigation for steering $52M of contracts to her secret husband. See full article from Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/19/state-dept-contract-officer-steers-52-million-to-secret-husband-daughter/.
- MSPB upholds removal of DHS Senior Special Agent, after he failed to establish whistleblower affirmative defense for (1) unauthorized queries of individuals on an official government computer database; (2) unauthorized disclosure; (3) misuse of position; and (4) lack of candor. See MSPB opinion at http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=618847&version=620720&application=ACROBAT.
- MSPB dismissal of OSC case to remove an employee for violation of the Hatch Act is upheld. OSC failed to comply with Board rules to state "with particularity any alleged violations of law or regulation, along with the supporting facts." However, OSC may bring a new complaint. See MSPB opinion at http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=621454&version=623336&application=ACROBAT
July 07, 2011
IG investigation into Defense Education Agency Director
The Inspector General for the Department of Defense substantiated multiple charges against the DoD Education Agency's former Director, including violations of the Joint Ethics Regulation and standards of conduct. See Federal Times article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110630/DEPARTMENTS01/106300306/1049/PERSONNEL and IG redacted report at: http://www.dodig.mil/fo/Foia/PDFs/MilesROIforreleaseRedacted.pdf.
June 27, 2011
A cautionary tale ... 10th Cir. Case
Decided last Friday in the 10th Circuit. This is a cautionary tale about a GS-15 supervisor at HUD (Denver) who did not take any leave for trips to a casino, etc. He now has an all-expenses paid vacation for a year and a day at an unnamed Federal facility for 10 counts of theft from the USA and 10 counts of wire fraud. See full case at http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/10/10-3162.pdf.
May 10, 2011
Former US Marshal Service employee pleads guilty
Sno H. Rush, formerly an employee of the U.S. Marshall Servie, plead guilty to theft of $104,000 in government funds, and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and 3 years supervised probation. The money was appropriated by misuse of her position and government credit card and used to offset her personal credit card debt. See US DOJ press release at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/May/11-crm-588.html.
March 10, 2011
Using Outlook Rule to Spy on Supervisor
US v. Szymuszkiewicz, 622 F. 3d 701 is an interesting Seventh Circuit decision. Here's the first paragraph of Justice Easterbrook's decision:
David Szymuszkiewicz was in trouble at work. His driver's license had been suspended for driving while drunk. This threatened his job because, as a revenue officer, Szymuszkiewicz was required to travel to delinquent taxpayers' homes. He worried he might be fired. One response, a jury found, was to monitor email messages sent to his supervisor, Nella Infusino. She found out by accident when being trained to use Microsoft Outlook, her email client. She discovered a "rule" that directed Outlook to forward to Szymuszkiewicz all messages she received. Szymuszkiewicz was convicted under the Wiretap Act for intentionally intercepting an electronic communication.
March 02, 2011
Child Pornography Offenses by Government Employees
Mark Stone alerts us to an article entitled "Child Pornography Offenses by Government Employees" on pages 11-14 of the latest issue of The Journal of Public Inquiry.
February 27, 2011
Federal Charge Card Abuse Examined
Grassley has uncovered instances where cards were used to buy kitchen appliances, jewelry, gambling, cruises, and tabs at strip clubs and legalized brothels. The senator has singled out fraud at the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration and Forest Service.
According to Grassley, millions in taxpayer dollars are being fraudulently wasted by government employees. His reform bill passed the Senate in 2009, but the House never took it up.
February 22, 2011
Grassley questions suspicious purchases made by Commerce officials
By law, officials can use the [Asset Forfeiture] fund to pay for certain "expenses directly related to investigations and civil or criminal proceedings." But the IG found that the Office of Law Enforcement and Office of General Counsel broadly interpreted the law to pay for a variety of materials, services, travel and training. As much as $96 million could have gone through the fund during the last five years, according to the report.
The nature of the fund "has led to allegations of questionable conduct on the part of enforcement officers who had an incentive to impose exorbitant penalties and fines on fishermen," [Senator] Grassley said.
February 05, 2011
IG Report: Ambassador Had Staff House Hunt
A Department of State IG report quoted in TPM Muckraker shows a downside of having subordinates work on matters of personal interest, like finding a temporary residence or refurbishing the bathroom at the ambassador's residence.
January 31, 2011
FBI Office of Professional Responsibility report on Agents behavior
CNN reports on the ethical and inappropriate conduct of FBI employees. From documents obtained from the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, it appears that only 325-350 out of 34,300 FBI employees are disciplined each year, which bodes pretty well for their ethical conduct of the agency. But it also shows some serious lack of judgment and conduct unbecoming a Federal employee. See report at http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/27/siu.fbi.internal.documents/index.html.
See related articles:
- FBI OPR document at http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/27/fbi.documents.siu.pdf
- TMP Media report at http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/fbi_agent_threatened_to_release_sex_tape_with_reporter.php?ref=fpb#.
January 28, 2011
DoD OIG draft report on misuse of Govt purchase card at CENTCOM
Tampa Tribune reports: "U.S. Central Command 'wasted funds' by improperly using government purchasing cards to buy coins, cigar storage boxes, televisions and other items, according to a draft report released by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. The report chides officials for lax oversight and failing to enforce or follow rules involving about $40,000 in purchases." See full article at http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/jan/28/PMENEWSO1-centcom-buys-trouble-with-purchase-cards/
See DoD OIG Draft report: http://www.dodig.mil/Audit/reports/fy11/11-034.pdf
January 25, 2011
"Cycle of Sin" brings down senior Airman
Airman pleads guilty to multiple charges including misuse of position, and fights 13 others including misuse of government communication systems. See Dayton Daily News article at http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/wright-patterson-airman-pleads-guilty-to-13-air-force-charges-1062915.html?printArticle=y
OSC found Bush Administration Officials violated the Hatch Act
OSC's report found the Office of Political Affairs acted more like a campaign office than an advisory office for the President, when it conducted political briefings for agency political appointees during work hours and in the Federal workplace. OSC's investigation expanded to review other Hatch Act violations including improper classification of political travel as "official" and failure to seek reimbursement from political appointees for this political travel. See OSC report http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/STF%20Report%20Final.pdf
See also GovExec article http://blogs.govexec.com/fedblog/ and Politico article http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=601ACD52-7F25-4233-9CEB-78676900A53E.
January 07, 2011
Ethics related Justice Press Releases
- A former CIA officer was arrested Jan. 6, 2011, on charges that he illegally disclosed national defense information and obstructed justice. See Justice press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-crm-015.html.
- American Samoa Dept. of Education official pleads guilty to bribery. See Justice press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-crm-008.html.
December 10, 2010
Misconduct leads to removal
Former Navy employee who misused govt resources (govt vehicle and official time) loses appeal in personnel litigation because he lied to investigators. See full Federal Circuit decision at http://www.fedsmith.com/articles/records/file/Cases/2010/Delapenia10_3116.pdf.
December 01, 2010
GovExec.com reports on allegations that a senior FDA official:
was conducting business from his Virginia home; regularly held training sessions and conferences in Texas so he could visit his family; used support and IT staff to do personal work for him; and authorized the payment of government contracting training at George Washington University for an OCI employee described as his "office mistress."
November 13, 2010
OGE 2009 Prosecution Survey
The Office of Government Ethics issued DAEOgram DO-10-017 on November 9, 2010 announcing the publication of the 2009 Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey. The survey contains summaries of cases involving conflict of interest violations. The Department of Justice prosecuted the cases. See http://www.usoge.gov/ethics_guidance/daeograms/dgr_files/2010/do10017.pdf
Posted by Account Deleted in Inspectors General, Issues: Conflicts of Interest, Issues: Financial Disclosure, Issues: Gifts, Issues: Misuse of Govt. Resources, Issues: Misuse of Position, Issues: Outside Activities, Issues: Post Employment, OGE | Permalink
November 09, 2010
DOJ IG report on US Attorney travel practies (Nov. 2010)
The report found most U.S. Attorney's followed the rules and per diem limits. For the small number of U.S. Attorneys, who routinely exceeded the government rate, the IG found they did so by large amounts, with insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification. See full report at http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/plus/o1011.pdf.
The report found most U.S. Attorney's followed the rules and per diem limits. For the small number of U.S. Attorneys, who routinely exceeded the government rate, the IG found they did so by large amounts, with insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification. See full report at http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/plus/o1011.pdf.
November 08, 2010
Former State Dept. employee pleads guilty
Brooke E. Reyna, 28, of Barrington, N.H., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph N. Laplante in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire to making false statements in investigation about improper accessing of an official database for other than official purposes. She is the tenth person to plead guilty in this continuing investigation. See full press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/November/10-crm-1258.html.
October 26, 2010
Former GSA official pleads guilty
A former GSA official, Daniel Voll, pleaded guilty to embezzling taxpayer money, incuring over $10,000 in expenses of a purely personal nature on his Govt credit card at various luxury hotels, dining and spa establishments, and then falsely representing them as legitimate business expenses. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison as well as one year probation and was fined $100,000. See DOJ Press Release at http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/press/2010/2010_04_01_voll.guiltyplea.press.html.
Additional details can be found on JunketSleuth.com a new website tracking Government Travel expenses.