The Department of Interior’s (DOI) Office of Inspector General has placed an appointee of Barack Obama on leave after an investigation showed that he had directed at least two grants to a relative.
The OIG report states:
Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Division of International Conservation (DIC), International Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), may have violated Federal ethics regulations when he issued a cooperative agreement and was involved in two grants to nonprofit organizations with which a family member was associated.
We found that Ruggiero violated Federal laws and regulations by participating in an FWS cooperative agreement that financially benefited his family member, and neither Ruggiero nor his family member disclosed their relationship in writing to the FWS. Ruggiero also shared nonpublic FWS information about the agreement with his family member the report states.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said:
“This Inspector General Report identified exactly the kind of mismanagement and tax dollar abuse I have been concerned about and I am looking to root out at Interior.”
“When I arrived last year, I asked for a briefing on our grants programs, and, shockingly, not a single person could tell me definitively how much the Department disburses in grants every year and what projects we are funding. That’s not because the people I asked are not smart, it’s because the bureaucracy is so big and there’s so little oversight.”
“The previous administration created an environment that was so unaccountable that it led to bad actors taking advantage of taxpayers in plain sight. Our review of grants and cooperative agreements I believe will expose the waste and abuse while also directing that money to important priorities like expanding access to public lands and wildlife conservation.”
When Zinke took over the Department of the Interior, one of the first things he did was to order an accounting of all large grants. That’s how they nailed Ruggiero, who is on leave pending an administrative decision.
That decision should be to “Drain the Swamp”.