An unnamed high-ranking Department of Commerce official kept at least seven government-issued computers at her home where somebody used the equipment for months to view pornography and web sites featuring racial slurs.
Then, when the department’s Office of Inspector General began investigating, she tampered with evidence and proposed disciplining an employee who cooperated with the investigation, according to a new OIG report.
Federal taxpayers also funded her “wasteful foreign travel,” and a full eight-hour workday when she only worked about 20 minutes.
“The investigation revealed a troubling pattern of conduct that was abusive of government resources and evidenced a disregard for conservation of such resources, as well as misconduct by senior official in response to the OIG’s investigation,” the report said.
The IG refused to identify the individual’s name or position, or clarify who viewed and downloaded pornography and racial slurs.
“Our report speaks for itself,” said spokesman Clark Reid, citing privacy concerns for not disclosing the senior executive’s name or title. A department spokesman declined to comment.
The senior-level official kept two desktop computers, three laptops and two iPads at her home for at least six months and allowed members of her household access, “which resulted in inappropriate use of such equipment to view and/or store pornographic, sexually suggestive, and racially offensive materials,” the report said.
She also inappropriately booked a flight abroad, “permitting her to seek reimbursement from the government for the expenses associated with her own personal, non-official travel plans.” Investigators calculated that cost taxpayers about $1,365.
Investigators also found “numerous” discrepancies in her attendance record, including a day when she claimed she worked an eight-hour day via telework, but evidence suggests she worked about 20 minutes.
What happened next created more work for federal investigators.
“This included evidence that the senior official failed to comply with a preservation order issued by the OIG, which resulted in impeding the OIG’s access to information and materials relevant to its investigation, as well as credible evidence that the senior official’s belief that one of her subordinates cooperated with the OIG’s investigation was a significant factor in senior official’s proposal to take disciplinary action against the subordinate,” the report said.
“This evidence is deeply troubling to the OIG as it calls into question Senior Official’s compliance with her obligations as a government employee.”