Justice Department Officials Accused of Nepotism

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: July 26, 2012 Last Updated: July 26, 2012
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Several officials within the U.S. Department of Justice have been accused of hiring their own family members, including their children, according to a report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office. This is in violation of laws and regulations designed to prevent preferential hiring in federal agencies.

Eight employees in the management division of the agency either sought to have their relatives hired into high-level positions or ignored evidence of the violations, the report said.

The report is the third in the past decade to have found such illegal practices within the Justice Department.

The report is the third in the past decade to have found such illegal practices within the Justice Department; improper practices were also discovered in 2004 and 2008.

“Most of the misconduct described in this report—the nepotism … the ethical lapses, the false and misleading statements—was the result of bad behavior by individuals insufficiently impressed with the principles of fair and open competition,” Horowitz’s office stated.

Seven of the employees violated federal laws that restrict the employment of relatives and getting relatives internships with the agency.

Horowitz said that he expected the Justice Department to take appropriate action in dealing with the situation; namely, meting out punishments against employees. He also said that not enough was done to change hiring practices within the department following the 2008 report.

“The significant number of instances of improper advocacy and related conduct detailed in this report indicates that existing training and guidance, including the training programs instituted in response to the [Office of the Inspector General’s] 2008 Report, have not been effective,” the 100-page report states.

In one example of nepotism within the Justice Department, the human resources assistant director sought to get her daughter hired into various positions at the agency, and she changed a vacancy announcement to elevate her daughter’s chances of getting employed. The daughter was ultimately hired under the director of the Facilities and Administrative Services department. The same human resources assistant director also allegedly made false statements to federal investigators, according to the report.

Later, the facilities director tried to get his son, who was living with him in the same house, hired into the human resources department. After the son was hired, he and his family moved out of his father’s house, the report said. The facilities director also was accused of making false statements to federal investigators.

In addition, the human resources director was found “negligent in his duty to exercise effective oversight” and tried to get several of his relatives hired into the agency.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who helped trigger the latest investigation of the Justice Department by the Office of the Inspector General, said that “nepotism has no place in any federal agency, and it is especially disturbing coming from the Department of Justice—the agency charged with enforcing the law.”

“I also expect the department to move quickly to enact the necessary reforms to prevent this from happening again,” he added.

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