Drug Enforcement Administration Executive Cited for Nepotism
Justice Department IG finds son and former employees hired as contractors, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An unnamed senior official at the Drug Enforcement Administration was found guilty of ethical misconduct in hiring and supervising his son and several former agency employees as contractors, violating agency guidance and the Federal Acquisition Regulation while “wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
A June 11 report from the Justice Department inspector general chronicled results of an investigation into whether the senior official hired the spouse of a retired DEA official and came to work under the influence of alcohol. Also probed was whether the supervisor of the accused official knew of the misconduct but took no action.
Investigators confirmed that the official hired his son and placed him within his chain of command in 2017 “authorizing a total of $340,280 in spending, including a raise, specifically for his son’s contractor position,” the IG’s summary said.
The official also inappropriately hired two ex-employees, one of whom was the spouse of a retired former colleague and “took actions to appoint his son as a volunteer student intern before he graduated from college,” all in violation of agency ethics standards.
The IG “determined that neither the senior DEA official’s son nor the spouse of the former DEA employee met the basic qualification requirements for their positions, as specified in the contract.” In addition, the senior official sought to expedite the security vetting for his son and “to submit contractor work invoices while on collegiate spring break and before graduating college.” The son and his father also violated DEA security procedures after the father asked a senior information technology manager with the Justice Management Division to allow his son to report to a nearby, unaffiliated division building “under escort, in order to submit contractor invoices while waiting for contractor clearance with DEA.”
The supervisor, a member of the Senior Executive Service, was found to have had advance knowledge of the official’s plan to hire his son.
“Finally, the OIG concluded that the senior DEA official lacked candor by making false entries about alcohol counseling on a Questionnaire for National Security Position, in violation of the DEA Standards of Conduct and potentially in violation of criminal statutes.”
The alleged abuse of alcohol while on duty, however, was not substantiated.
The department declined to prosecute, and the official retired. But on receiving word that the official might seek federal work through a contractor, the IG referred the matter to the Justice Suspension and Debarment Official.