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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.
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Lawsuit Alleges DEA Will Trade Crack For Help on Investigations

The Drug Enforcement Administration has seen its share of scandals, but a lawsuit filed this week may be one of the more shocking.

According to a report by the Associated Press, a lawsuit alleges that DEA agents paid an addict in crack cocaine for his assistance with an undercover operation in 2011. According to court papers filed this week, Aaron Romero said he was approached by agents to help with the New Mexico-based "Operation Smack City." In exchange for his working with the agents, Romero said he received portions of the drugs confiscated by five DEA agents working on the case.

A recovering addict at the time of the investigation, Romero's lawsuit says his addiction was reignited from his use aided by the five agents who supplied him with the drugs. The lawsuit is seeking $8.5 million in damages for emotional and physical harm. Romero's lawyer says he is now drug free.

"The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to 'stack drug related charges' against him," the suit reads.

The ...

For Some Feds, Shutdown Was Baby-Making Time

Last fall, federal employees experienced growing anxiety as a government shutdown loomed, and then became a reality on Oct. 1.

Nine months later, it looks like some feds found a (re)productive way to deal with the situation.

Washington news station WNEW reports that there may be something of a baby boomlet in the D.C. area coinciding with the shutdown. At Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center, 100 more babies were born in the last three months than in the same period in 2013. Sibley Hospital in Washington has seen three more births per day than usual this month.

That’s not exactly scientific proof that feds were working on making babies while they weren’t allowed to work, but it looks like some of them made good use of their free time.

(Image via Nadezda Cruzova/Shutterstock.com)

An Emmy for Obama?

He's already got the Nobel Peace Prize and two Grammys, but will Barack Obama add an Emmy to his list of accomplishments?

Obama's March appearance on the Funny or Die Web series "Between Two Ferns" was nominated Thursday for an Emmy in the Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program category. The acclaimed Zach Galifianakis's series is up against contenders like the Super Bowl halftime show and Adult Swim's surreal comedy "Children's Hospital."

Obama got rave reviews for the six-and-a-half-minute episode. He verbally sparred with Galifianakis and took Galifianakis' barbs -- including saying HealthCare.gov is "that thing that doesn't work" and calling the president "a nerd" -- with good humor. Our sibling site The Atlantic asked has "there ever been a president so adept at appearing on comedy shows?", The New Yorker called the appearance a "win," and Gawker endorsed it by saying "The whole thing is worth watching."

Technically, Obama isn't nominated for his appearance on the show. Executive producers of the show are the ones nominated and would receive the actual statuette in the case of a "Between Two Ferns" win. It is unclear if the presentation of the Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program ...

This Guy Definitely Has the Strangest Federal Job

Among the many challenges of space missions is the fact that you can’t just crack a window up there and get some fresh air. That means astronauts have to be very careful about what they bring aboard spacecraft, lest they get stuck with a pungent odor they can’t escape -- and that could literally make them sick.

How do you prevent such a scenario from unfolding? By employing a designated sniffer. In this case, George Aldrich, a NASA veteran who puts his superior sense of smell to work to evaluate items before they are sent to space with astronauts. The Daily Dot reports that includes not only spacecraft parts, but astronauts’ personal items, from bibles to a model ship in a bottle.

Aldrich, who has spent almost 40 years with the space agency, clearly enjoys the limelight. He’s been a regular speaker at schools over the years, where he frequently serves as a judge of “smelly sneaker” contests. He’s also been featured on many science-oriented TV shows, including World’s Strangest:

Now Covering States and Localities, Too!

Throughout the 45 years we’ve been reporting on the business of government at Government Executive (and for the 18 years we’ve been doing so at GovExec.com), the question we probably have been asked more than any other is, “Do you cover state and local government?” Now the answer is, “Yes.”

Our new GovExec State & Local channel focuses on news, information and analysis about innovation at the state, county and local levels. It aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices and new ideas among decision makers who are creating highly effective government programs, policies and institutions for the 21st century. Areas of coverage will include information technology, health care, citizen services, infrastructure, transportation, finance and security.

We’ve got a very talented senior editor heading up the initiative in Michael Grass. He was a founding co-editor of DCist.com, served as deputy managing editor of the New York Observer’s ambitious Politicker.com site (editing posts filed by reporters in 17 states), and managed local news coverage in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for the Huffington Post. (You can read more from him here.)

Mike is building a network of correspondents to provide coverage across the country ...