If it’s a government agency, odds are, any scandal is going to be sexual in nature and the Treasury Department doesn’t disappoint. It’s another federal agency in a growing list whose employees have clearly forgotten tax dollars spent on prostitutes is not an approved expenditure.
New documents reveal more than a few unethical and potentially illegal activities that include a retired Treasury Department human resources specialist using a government issued travel credit card to book hotel rooms on more than one occasion for himself and a lady of the night. These results were posted on the website governmentattic.org and were uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act.
These documents also uncover “an array of alleged misconduct” by several federal employees with the agency and include sexual harassment, concerns over conflict of interest quagmires and other questionable activities. But it’s the prostitution incident, which allegedly occurred in 2010, that’s turning heads and raising eyebrows.
This unnamed human resources employee was actually caught and found himself having to answer to those accusations that he was arranging sexual trysts off of Craigslist. Further, it was discovered this same employee was using taxpayer dollars to subscribe to various erotic websites. He used government email servers to communicate with various prostitutes and to solicit a number of “adult and erotic services”. He admitted to it when he was caught.
He even used the credit cards to pay a $100 cancellation fee to a hotel when one date was broken.
What’s particularly disturbing is the agency knew this employee – who, by the way, had worked for the government for more than three decades – violated rules against “disgraceful conduct”, and even broke laws against prostitution. Despite all of this, the U.S. Attorney’s office opted not to prosecute this employee because it didn’t involve underage prostitutes or human trafficking. The employee retired that same year.
In the meantime, the Treasury Department refuses to comment, though the Office of the Inspector General did confirm the authenticity of the documents posted on the website.
In another case where appropriate agencies declined to file charges, an employee was disciplined after accepting golf games and meals from executives at banks his office was examining. This is clearly a conflict of interest. That employee worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and said he believed playing golf on the dime of bank officials was “a condoned activity.” Still, the investigation concluded that employee violated more than a few regulations, but again, the U.S. Attorney declined to pursue charges.
These reports – and many more – are all public record. In all cases, officials said the incidents were isolated and “old news”.
Treasury has a strong ethics policy that we expect all of our employees to follow, and the overwhelming majority of them do. As with any large organization, issues of misconduct occasionally arise,
a Treasury spokesman said, noting that the agency acted “promptly and decisively” to address rule-breaking. Eric Thorson, who’s the Treasury Department’s inspector general, actually said,
Many organizations have people who do dumb things.
What’s most ironic, according to some, is that the government appears to have an overwhelming number of folks on the payroll who do those dumb things. From credit card misuse to prostitution to disturbing the peace, it’s clear there’s no shortage of people willing to do not only “dumb things”, but illegal ones too.
- FTC Warns of Prepaid Card Scams – May 23, 2013