House Inspector General IDs Another ‘Shared Employee’ Problem

Posted May 21, 2008 at 11:22am

Inspector General James Cornell reported Wednesday that his office has found a second “shared employee” in the House who was improperly reimbursed for “self-approved” expenses.

The announcement was part of a broader report the IG issued Wednesday suggesting stronger controls over employees who provide financial and information technology services to multiple Congressional offices.

Earlier this month, Laura Flores was sentenced to six months in jail for double-billing offices for reimbursement and seeking reimbursement for products she never bought.

“In another ongoing investigation, we found a second financial administrator who was paid for thousands of dollars of improper expense reimbursements and bonuses that were self-approved and resulted in improper payments,” Cornell told the House Administration Committee on Wednesday. He did not provide details on the second case.

Cornell and Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard suggested the House needs to establish additional controls on shared employees, including using a training process for both staff and Members and having the CAO provide pools of employees who could provide IT and financial services in lieu of the independent shared employees.

Cornell said there are no indications that current shared employees are stealing, but he added that there are some cases of shared employees “subcontracting” work to individuals in another Congressional office, which is a violation of law. Cornell suggested that may simply be a case of employees not understanding the law and promised it would be immediately addressed.

– Paul Singer