Sunday, June 16, 2013

Report: Nepotism ‘open and widely accepted’ at Energy Department
Advocating for the hire of relatives, a form of nepotism, has become “open and widely accepted” at the Energy Department, according to a federal watchdog report.

The Energy Department’s inspector general made that determination in a report released last week about a senior manager who pushed for three of his college-age children to be hired for department internships last year....

...“Despite the department’s ethics program and information regarding prohibited personnel practices, advocating for the selection of relatives appears to have become an open and widely accepted departmental practice,” the report said....

Hundreds in government had advance word of Medicare action at heart of trading-spike probe
Hundreds of federal employees were given advance word of a Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers in the weeks before the official announcement, a period when trading in the shares of those firms spiked.

The surge of trading in Humana’s and other private health insurers’ stock before the April 1 announcement already has prompted the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Wall Street investors had advance access to inside information about the then-confidential Medicare funding plan.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Washington Post late last week that his office reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public.

The number of federal employees with advance knowledge is surely higher; the figures Grassley’s staff compiled did not include people at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who also saw the information. The e-mail records of those employees have not been made available to Grassley....