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Jim McElhatton

Jim McElhatton

Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Jim McElhatton

Army Corps of Engineers logo (Facebook)

Defense firm facing charges in procurement scam

A Virginia-based company with defense and intelligence agency contracts is facing criminal charges that it pa id a corrupt Army procurement official who was recently sent to prison for taking kickbacks. Published October 30, 2014

Rep. Jim Moran received $1,500 through a FedBid PAC, but his office said political donations played no role in his request to reinstate a Veterans Affairs policy. (Associated Press)

Democratic congressman pressured VA to help politically connected contractor

Rep. James P. Moran pressured the Department of Veterans Affairs to overrule one of its own senior procurement executives in 2012 and reinstate a policy that benefited a well-connected contractor, according to government records that show a VA official thought the congressman was stepping out of bounds. Published October 29, 2014

Army contracting official In Seon Lim was sentenced to 4 years in prison for accepting $490,000 in bribes as part of a bid-rigging scheme. (Associated Press)

Army contractor sentenced to 4 years in prison for bid-rigging scheme

A key official in what prosecutors have called the biggest bid-rigging scheme in U.S. contracting history received a four-year prison sentence Friday, as newly filed sentencing papers provided fresh details about why the scam went undetected for years. Published October 26, 2014

Rep. Darrell Issa, questioned whether IRS employee Takisha McGee lost track of investigative records containing sensitive taxpayer information. - Associated Press

IRS lawyer facing license loss delisted

The Internal Revenue Service has replaced a top lawyer in its Office of Professional Responsibility who faces losing her law license over her work on a years-old personal-injury case. Published October 22, 2014

Researchers at the University of Virginia and other labs say important discoveries that have been made against the deadly Ebola virus could and should be part of the fight against an outbreak in the U.S., but they have to compete for sources of funding. (CDC via Associated Press)

Ebola researchers frustrated by lack of support until outbreak hits

Judith White, who runs a research lab at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health to test potential countermeasures against Ebola in March — just as Liberia was confirming its first two cases of the deadly virus. Published October 21, 2014

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

GAO questions fitness of USIS

The fate of a border security contract worth up to $210 million was thrown into question Monday after the Government Accountability Office told an agency to reconsider whether a contractor facing fraud accusations is qualified for the job. Published October 20, 2014

Visitors line up to enter the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, as the justices begin the second week of the new term. The landscape has changed very quickly for gay marriage in the U.S. Last week, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage. The Oct. 6 move effectively legalized gay marriage in about 30 states and triggered a flurry of rulings and confusion in lower courts across the nation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Supreme Court upholds 18-year sentence for $600 drug deal

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition Tuesday from three D.C. drug defendants serving lengthy prison sentences for dealing minor amounts of cocaine, but three justices disagreed — arguing the court missed a key opportunity to rule on an important Sixth Amendment issue. Published October 14, 2014

Passengers stand, most waiting for incoming flights, in the arrivals area at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Health screening procedures were put in place at the airport today to check the health of people arriving from Ebola-affected countries. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

CDC looks to beef up airport screening in Ebola fight

The Centers for Disease Control posted a notice Tuesday seeking airport screeners to work in major U.S. airports and perhaps even overseas as the agency tries to stop the spread of Ebola. Published October 14, 2014

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that the diagnosis of 26-year-old nurse Nina Pham should not be an occasion for partisan bickering over the CDC's budget as it relates to Ebola. Despite campaign bluster about cuts, Ebola falls under the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases branch, whose funding has grown to more than $390 million in 2014 alone. (Associated Press)

Ebola sparks political battle over research funding

The Ebola finger-pointing kicked into a higher gear Monday as politicians in Washington blamed each other for cutting research funding, even as the federal government's top disease chief apologized for suggesting workers at a Dallas hospital failed to follow protocols, leading to this weekend's first U.S.-contracted case of the deadly virus. Published October 13, 2014

Sybill Mikell has worked making mess trays and other products produced by Lighthouse for the Blind for decades, but shes facing the loss of her job because of a change in government procurement rules. Photo credit: Mary Lou Uttermohlen

Exclusive: Feds take jobs from disabled Americans, send them to Central Asia

Sibyl Mikell has worked in the same New Orleans warehouse by the Mississippi River docks since 1980, one of dozens of blind workers who make the mess trays sent to U.S. military forces overseas — including her own son, who finished his second tour of duty in Afghanistan earlier this year. Published October 9, 2014

"Let Israel win!" Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Republican, said that being a supporter of Israel "means that I will stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in the recognition that Hamas is a terrorist state and that Israel should never negotiate with terrorists." (Associated Press)

VA's loyalty to reverse auction firm FedBid raises red flags

As far back as 2012, a Department of Veterans Affairs advisory board was warning about excessive sway that reverse auction firm FedBid, a well-connected contractor employing former top White House officials, had on VA contracting officers. Published October 8, 2014

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is seen on the building in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

VA moves to fire executive for abusing her authority

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday proposed firing a high-ranking contracting official involved in a procurement scandal a week after an investigation found she abused her position to try to aid a prominent federal contacting firm. Published October 7, 2014

The EPA, headed by Gina McCarthy, says strontium, which can reduce bone strength among those deficient in calcium, is the latest contaminant to be targeted under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. (Associated Press Photographs)

Issa pushes EPA chief to resolve investigator dispute

Congress's top investigator has told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to resolve a long-running dispute that Rep. Darrell Issa says is undermining the agency inspector general's ability to investigate misconduct. Published October 6, 2014

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is seen on the building in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Under investigation at VA, official sought move to Energy Dept.

The central figure in a Department of Veterans Affairs procurement scandal, whom investigators ​accused of ​strong-arm​​ing​ the agency to hire a well-connected firm then lying about it, ​was set to ​begin a new job overseeing contracts for the Department of Energy (DOE) ​starting ​next week​, according to an internal announcement​. Published October 2, 2014

FILE - In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. Five top Taliban leaders held by the U.S. in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, told a visiting Afghan delegation they agree to a proposed transfer to the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, Afghan officials said Saturday, March 10, 2012. The U.S. has not yet agreed to the transfer but is considering it as an incentive for the Taliban to participate in peace talks to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan and allow American troops to come home without the country descending into further chaos. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Obama’s failed promise on Gitmo costs FBI’s bottom line

President Obama's failure to make good on his promise to close the detention center for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay has forced the FBI counterterrorism division to approve a new, no-bid contract for air charter services to and from the military base on Cuba. Published October 2, 2014

Safe passage: An American doctor exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone disembarks a Gulfstream jet in a Tyvek protection suit in Maryland. (Associated Press)

U.S. has only jet to transport Ebola patients safely

As the Ebola virus spread quickly across parts of Africa in March, U.S. officials confronted a logistical nightmare: a complete lack of infrastructure in affected regions, no evacuation plans and air charter services that were unable or unwilling to fly into the region to transport seriously ill patients. Published October 1, 2014

The nearly four-year investigation by the State Department's Office of Inspector General found that in one case, DynCorp paid more than $17,000 for "facilitation" services to subcontractor Speed-Flo Filters for visas for 15 people. Typically, the visas would cost about $3,000 in total, records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show (State Department images via Associated Press)

Pakistani officials bribed by agents of military contractors: IG

State Department investigators uncovered evidence that agents working for one of the largest U.S. military contractors paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to Pakistani officials to obtain visas and weapons licenses, but records show the government closed the case without punishing DynCorp. Published September 30, 2014

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki pauses as he speaks at a meeting of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Friday, May 30, 2014, in Washington. President Barack Obama says he plans to have a "serious conversation" with Shinseki about whether he can stay in his job.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Well-connected firm FedBid faces fallout from VA contracting scandal

Investigators have recommended the government bar a Virginia company that employs a who's who list of former powerful federal officials from getting contracts after they found employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs improperly tried to steer business to the firm. Published September 29, 2014