Prostitutes, corporate gifts and harassment trigger Treasury investigations

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Investigations by the Treasury Department’s office of inspector general  have revealed improprieties, including the use of prostitutes, corporate gift giving and sexual harassment by employees.

GovernmentAttic.org, a watchdog organization, recently published the fruits of a May Freedom of Information Act request.

Though the documents revealed misbehavior by employees, they also showed the tough line the inspector general’s office had toward ethical and criminal violations.

“The OIG moved aggressively to investigate the isolated instances of misconduct referenced in these documents, most of which were brought to the OIG’s attention by bureau management," a Treasury spokesman told The Hill.

The investigations looked into a range of issues, from claims of favoritism to serious criminal violations. In one incident, a human resources specialist in the Office of Thrift Supervision was found to have used office systems to solicit prostitutes from Craigslist. The same employee also “used OTS email to communicate with women offering a variety of adult/erotic services,” an investigation found. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia “declined to accept the case for prosecution absent aggravating circumstances such as underage prostitutes or human trafficking,” the IG said. The employee retired several months after the investigation.

Another investigation found Treasury officials with clear conflicts of interests with outside corporations. One particular investigation found that an employee was steering information technology contracts to her husband, an employee for a government contractor. Another incident involved an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency employee playing golf with industry officials during work hours.

An employee arrested in Chapel Hill, N. C., for public intoxication and illegally bringing in alcoholic beverages to the stadium was found to have not been acting in the “best interests” of the department.

The investigations also revealed how seriously the OIG took allegations of sexual harassment by current and former employees. Several incidents involving possible allegations were thoroughly researched, according to the documents.

"Many organizations have people who do dumb things," said Treasury’s Inspector General Eric Thorson told The Hill.

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