JULY 16, 2012
Officials at the agency responsible for protecting the integrity of the nation’s financial system—the U.S. Treasury—have been busted for serious misconduct, including soliciting hookers, violating gift rules and using government credit cards for unauthorized personal charges, according to a scandalous government report made public this month.
The internal document was posted last week on the website of a group that provides electronic copies of thousands of federal government files obtained under the public-records law known as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Because droves of information are available, juicy stuff often gets lost or overlooked. However, a congressional newspaper caught the scathing Treasury exposé and brought much-deserve attention to its findings.
It reveals that officials at the Treasury Department have been embroiled in a variety of transgressions, including violating conflict-of interest rules, accepting forbidden gifts from corporate executives, soliciting prostitutes and inappropriate personal relationships between supervisors and subordinates. One excerpt tells how an agency director in a romantic affair with a subordinate used his government-issued credit card to make “unauthorized purchases related to this relationship.”
Other portions tell about multiple incidents of sexual harassment and whistle blowers who faced retaliation for reporting illegal or inappropriate behavior. One Treasury official violated several ethics regulations by “accepting gratuities” and playing golf during work hours with employees of a bank and lying about it. Another unlawfully entered an agency office and stole a laptop computer, according to the report. The list goes on and on.
The investigation was conducted by the Treasury’s Inspector General and the report has most names and other incriminating details blacked out so the identities of the offenders aren’t revealed. Never the less, the probe exposes different episodes of misconduct and concludes that Treasury officials and employees definitely engaged in unethical and, quite frankly, criminal conduct.
This is alarming considering that the agency is the steward of the U.S. economic and financial systems, an influential participant the world economy. With these sorts of unscrupulous officials running it, how can taxpayers expect the Treasury to fulfill its duties of maintaining a strong economy, creating job opportunities and strengthening national security by combating threats and protecting the integrity of the financial system? …
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