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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

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, called the actions of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office official Deborah Cohn "appalling and unbefitting a federal official" when she used her influence to find a job for a relative's live-in boyfriend, and then threatened to sue when the government was about to make her case public. He has demanded that Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker take "immediate action" to discipline Ms. Cohn. (Associated Press)

Congress fumes as idle federal workers went shopping, sent on private errands

The House's top investigator pressed the Commerce Department on Wednesday to take action on a telework scandal at the U.S. Patent and Trade Organization, where dozens of paralegals got paid while they went shopping, watched television and caught up on chores — all with the knowledge of supervisors. Published August 20, 2014

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies under subpoena before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from several officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

IRS data lapse first uncovered by private firm

Recent criminal charges against an IRS employee accused of storing personal information about more than 20,000 employees and contractors on his home computer network stemmed from the work of a research firm hacker who stumbled across the agency security flaw and reported it to the government. Published August 19, 2014

David Brock, a former critic and later defender of Bill and Hillary Clinton, will head the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. (associated press)

Clinton ally Brock will head ethics oversight watchdog

One of the nation's most prominent ethics watchdog organizations, which touted its willingness to expose political "scoundrels" regardless of party affiliation, will now answer to a Democratic operative and Clinton defender. Published August 14, 2014

Aaron Alexis had a security clearance that gave him access to Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard, where he killed 12 people last year. (FBI via Associated Press)

Background check firm hit by cyberattack

The federal government's biggest contractor for conducting background checks disclosed Wednesday that it's been hit by a cyberattack with all the markings of of a "state-sponsored attack." Published August 6, 2014


Democrat vying for Eric Cantor's seat neglected to file financial disclosure

Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee to fill ousted Rep. Eric I. Cantor's seat in Virginia, has not yet filed personal financial disclosure forms, putting him on the wrong side of federal law and leaving voters in the dark about the college professor's income, investments and potential debts. Published August 6, 2014

Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District, has taken down council member Harry Thomas Jr. and Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Associated Press)

Final guilty plea in landmark federal bid-rigging case

Known for years in court documents only as "Public Official C", former U.S. Army contracting officer In Seon Lim pleaded guilty to bribery charges Thursday — the final defendant in what authorities have called the biggest bid-rigging scheme in federal contracting history. Published July 31, 2014

FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. A federal judge is ordering the IRS to explain _ under oath _ how it lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency's tea party controversy. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency a month to submit the explanation in writing. Sullivan issued the order Thursday as part of a freedom of information lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. The IRS says it lost the emails in 2011 when Lois Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status.  (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

House federal records plan would prevent repeat of IRS email scandal

From destroyed hard drives at the IRS to bogus email accounts at the EPA, agency record-keeping scandals have stymied congressional investigations and are fueling calls for beefed-up enforcement of the federal records laws to prevent future tampering with critical evidence. Published July 24, 2014

** FILE ** Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat. (Associated Press)

USIS, the firm that vetted Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Alexis, faces heat over border contract

For the first time in its 20-year history, a federal contracting firm is filing a bid protest to overturn the $190 million award of a border security contract to a rival accused of fraud by the Justice Department. Contractor USIS, which vetted NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, won the contract over Virginia-based FCi Federal last month. Published July 22, 2014