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Jim McElhatton

Jim McElhatton

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

Articles by Jim McElhatton

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)

FedBid barred from any new government contracts

The federal government this week deemed FedBid, a politically connected reverse auction firm, "ineligible" for new government contracts, months after a scandal laid bare how the company tried to destroy the reputation of a senior Veterans Affairs official who ruled against it. Published January 28, 2015

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been urged to ask Loretta Lynch, nominee to be attorney general, about her plans to prosecute federal laws on obscenity. (Associated Press)

Senate urged to ask AG nominee Loretta Lynch about stock fraud case

More than two dozen conservative groups pressed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday to look into whether the federal prosecutor's office run by attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch violated restitution and crime victim laws in a major stock fraud case. Published January 22, 2015

(Associated Press) ** FILE **

Judge questions government's 'sweetheart' deal in Army bribery case

A federal judge is questioning why the government wants to let an Army subcontractor off with just a fine, rather than pursue charges in a criminal case against the company whose founder doled out tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to a corrupt Army official. Published January 14, 2015

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, left, announces that nearly $60 million in grants have been awarded to tribal communities across the nation during a news conference Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, listens at right. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen) ** FILE **

HUD still calculating fraudster's damages

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is still trying to calculate the actual cost of fraud by former employee Brian Thompson, who is headed to prison this week after being sentenced to skimming money from sales of HUD properties. Published January 8, 2015

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, tapped to clean up the VA after reports of secret waiting lists and botched care, took office with a vow to protect whistleblowers. (Associated Press)

House committee demands records of VA whistleblower

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs this week demanded that VA Secretary Robert McDonald turn over documents that would shed light on why his department suspended an employee who exposed the drug arrest of a high-ranking VA official. Published January 7, 2015

 (Associated Press)

VA failed to vet dubious contractors

An internal VA study has found that an east coast office that handles about $4 billion in business each year didn't do enough checks to vet the backgrounds of companies to which it awarded contracts. Published January 5, 2015

The seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington is seen here on June 21, 2013. The number of military suicides is nearly double that of a decade ago when the U.S. was just a year into the Afghan war and hadn't yet invaded Iraq. While the pace is down slightly this year, it remains worryingly high. The U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acknowledge the grave difficulties facing active-duty and former members of the armed services who have been caught up in the more-than decade-long American involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

VA whistleblower suspended from job, won't be terminated

A Department of Veterans Affairs credentialing official who said VA supervisors sought to fire him for reporting the arrest of a high-ranking VA executive has been suspended from his job but won't be fired. Published December 30, 2014

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

HUD scammer seeks credit for revealing crime

A former Department of Housing and Urban Development official who stole more than $800,000 from the agency says he never would have been caught if he hadn't helped reform the troubled loan office that hired him despite his own lengthy criminal record. Published December 29, 2014

(Google Images)

Justice appealing ruling on DEA's 'reckless' use of witness

The Justice Department is appealing a $1.1 million ruling against the Drug Enforcement Administration, asking an appeals court to throw out a ruling that the agency acted with "reckless disregard" for one of its most prized drug informants by sending her into an investigation after her cover had been blown. Published December 24, 2014

VA's contracting office was never told about the ongoing inspector general's investigation when it awarded the contract to Tridec, according to spokeswoman Genevieve Billia. The blanket purchase order award to the company is worth up to $9.2 million, but VA officials haven't yet issued any orders on the contract. (Associated Press)

VA contracting office not told of ongoing investigation

The Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledged it received no advance notice before awarding a contract worth millions to a company recently named in a VA contract-steering investigation that has led to calls for the firing of the Treasury's senior procurement executive. Published December 22, 2014

VA's contracting office was never told about the ongoing inspector general's investigation when it awarded the contract to Tridec, according to spokeswoman Genevieve Billia. The blanket purchase order award to the company is worth up to $9.2 million, but VA officials haven't yet issued any orders on the contract. (Associated Press)

Former VA procurement chief talked the talk but ignored red flags, investigators say

Iris Cooper, a top government procurement officer, said she was a big fan of scouring would-be contractors' past performance to see if they could do the job. But that's not what happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs while she ran its office of acquisition operations, where investigators say she steered about $15 million to a company with no track record that employed two of her friends. Published December 18, 2014

Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican. (Associated Press)

VA gives no bid deal to company in contract steering probe

The Department of Veterans Affairs gave a no-bid contract worth up to $9.2 million to a company on the same day VA investigators blasted its lack of experience in a contract steering scandal that has ensnared a top Treasury Department official. Published December 17, 2014