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Senior Energy Dept. Official Caught Trying to Use Position to Secure Work for His Children

Senior Energy Dept. Official Caught Trying to Use Position to Secure Work for His Children


A senior Energy Department official has been caught trying to use his position within the agency to secure part-time work for his three children, a new DOE inspector general’s report reveals.

“Consistent with the allegations, our inspection revealed that a senior Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) official was actively involved in securing Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) opportunities for his three college-age children during the summer of 2012,” the report, which was released Monday, notes.

The unnamed official maintains that he did no wrong and Energy Department officials told the IG nepotism is common within the agency.

But some officials say it’s “problematic.”

“The report substantiated whistleblower allegations of nepotism, though it did not substantiate more serious charges that the DOE official enrolled his children in expensive training programs,” the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay notes.

“The official, who works in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), initially told investigators that he contacted four other DOE officials in the hopes of securing internships for his three children,” he adds.

The unnamed official contacted 12 ranking DOE members in seven different agency offices in order to score his children jobs, the report notes, adding that one of the contacts was a “high level official in Human Capital.”

“Federal law prohibits employees of a federal agency from hiring, promoting, or advocating on behalf of a relative within the same agency,” Markay notes. “An internal DOE memo on the statute advises that it applies to internships as well as full-time agency positions.”

The IG report cites “long standing, informal STEP hiring practices” and a general unfamiliarity with the law as the reason behind the attempts at apparent nepotism.

“Program officials we interviewed appeared to misunderstand the prohibitions of nepotism, expressing their belief that there was not a problem if the relative did not work under the direct supervision of the Department official,” the IG report notes.

Legal issues aside, the IG found, “providing inappropriate advantages for relatives of federal employees damages the integrity of the competitive process and erodes public trust in the federal hiring process.”

“The impact is likely severe, especially when considering the intense competition for STEP intern positions within the department,” the report adds..

The DOE, for its part, claims it will inspect the matter.

Here’s a full copy of the report:


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images.

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