Jul 16, 2012 4:24 PM GMT
Treasury Department officials have been cited for soliciting prostitutes, breaking conflict-of-interest rules and accepting gifts from corporate executives, according to the findings of official government investigations.
The revelations of unethical behavior at Treasury are detailed in little-noticed documents posted this month on governmentattic.org, which publishes agency responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
While it is not uncommon for departments within the executive branch to have personnel issues, it is unusual for these types of documents to become public. They provide a rare glimpse of internal probes within the Treasury Department, exposing different episodes of misconduct.
Investigators at the Treasury's Office of Inspector General (OIG), which responds to tips and official referrals from within the department, found that employees had engaged in unethical, and perhaps criminal, conduct.
The emergence of the OIG probe findings come in the wake of embarrassing scandals for the Obama administration at the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Secret Service. Even though the wrongdoing at Treasury is not as far-reaching or as embarrassing as those controversies, it could put the administration on the defensive with less than four months to go before the election.
Some of the OIG's work focused on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an agency housed within Treasury that was created by Congress to oversee banking institutions. It also homes in on the now-defunct Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), which recently became part of the OCC as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.