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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

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

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, sent a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald demanding answers on what he called serious deficiencies in the Caribbean VA system, including the arrest of a top official and "inappropriate hiring practices." (Associated Press)

Caribbean VA health system under fire

The chairman of a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee demanded Thursday that new VA Secretary Bob McDonald explain serious deficiencies in the department's Caribbean Health Care System, including the arrest of a top official and a suicide note left by a veteran who said he wanted to end his life because of the poor treatment he was receiving. Published September 25, 2014

**FILE** Jeffrey Neely, the central figure in a General Services Administration spending scandal, sits at the witness table as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigates wasteful spending and excesses by GSA during a 2010 Las Vegas conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 16, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GSA ‘Hot tub’ man indicted on billing charges

The central figure in a General Services Administration conference scandal that forced agencies across government to rein in spending was indicted Thursday on charges he sought reimbursement for personal travel in Las Vegas and other vacation spots then lied about it. Published September 25, 2014

Federal porn peepers are rarely charged with time and attendance abuse, according to investigative memos on computer misuse from agencies across government. Prosecutors seem to pursue cases aggressively only when there is evidence of child pornography. Agencies dole out discipline administratively in some cases, and the identities of the employees are shielded from public disclosure, records show. (associated press)

Federal workers not punished for surfing porn while on the job

An employee at the U.S. Office of the Trustee — an arm of the Justice Department charged with overseeing the integrity of the bankruptcy system — spent up to five hours a day on the job looking at pornography, visiting more than 2,500 adult websites during 2011, investigators found. Published September 24, 2014

Iraqis mark Police Day in Baghdad. The State Department's decision to close an investigation left unresolved accusations of whether DynCorp let a subcontractor solicit kickbacks from linguists at Baghdad's police academy as a condition of continued employment. The company was hired under a nearly $1 billion task order to provide linguists to work in three Iraqi cities. (Associated Press)

Iraq stymied probe into military contractor kickbacks

State Department investigators last year quit probing kickback charges against one of the government's largest military contractors because they didn't want to go through the "lengthy" process of getting permission from the Iraqi government to interview its citizens, records show. Published September 23, 2014

Federal contractor NT Concepts for years ran an online NCAA tournament gambling website, used by both workers of the firm and federal government employees, many of whose email addresses were publicly exposed as a result of the operation. (associated press)

U.S. security contractor ran sports betting site that exposed federal email addresses

A federal contractor that helps support the government's sprawling background check operations for years hosted an NCAA tournament wagering website on one of its corporate servers, which has resulted in the public disclosure of hundreds of names and the personal, corporate and government email addresses of participants. Published September 22, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry rubs his eyes on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the US strategy to defeat the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

State Department downplayed Islamic State threat, privately ramped up security

Weeks before the State Department assured Americans that things were operating "normally" at its consulate in the Kurdish capital of Erbil in August, concerned procurement officials were quietly saying the advance of militants of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, meant the government needed to shell out tens of millions of dollars to counter a "rapidly deteriorating" security situation. Published September 17, 2014

Lawmaker pushes for subpoena of background check firm

The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Monday that he wants to subpoena the head of a troubled government background check contractor to explain how they can continue to win government work after having been accused of fraud by the Justice Department. Published September 15, 2014

A conservative group says the Department of the Treasury has heretofore ignored its request seeking the records of a meeting between Treasury officials and billionaire Democratic fundraiser Tom Steyer. (Associated Press)

Patriots Foundation seeks details on Treasury meeting with Steyer

A nonprofit group headed by a former top Iowa Republican Party official is suing the Treasury Department, saying the agency has ignored its request for records of a meeting between Treasury officials and the Democratic fundraiser and billionaire Tom Steyer. Published September 15, 2014

Washinton Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and Edward Snowden (TWT Photo Illustration)

FILE - This June 9, 2013 file photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, in Hong Kong. Snowden says his "mission's already accomplished" after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies. Snowden told The Washington Post in a story published online Monday night, Dec. 23, 2013, he has "already won" because journalists have been able to tell the story of the government's collection of bulk Internet and phone records. (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, File)

Feds fire firm that checked backgrounds of Snowden, Alexis

The federal government's largest background check company was fired by the Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday after a spate of bad news, including a Justice Department lawsuit, a cyberattack and congressional scrutiny over its vetting of Edward Snowden. Published September 9, 2014

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office building in Alexandria, Va., has a contemporary look, but Senators trying to update the patent system say it's stuck in the 1950s and needs to catch up with 21st-century technology. A bipartisan bill to reform the system is headed for Senate debate. (Associated Press)

Patent Office head to step down amid nepotism charge

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office commissioner has announced plans to resign just months after a watchdog agency revealed that she'd pressured staff to hire the live-in boyfriend of an immediate family member over other qualified applicants. Published September 8, 2014

Edward Snowden

Background contractor USIS says it followed all laws

The contractor who performs the lion's share of background checks for the federal government defended its work on Monday, saying it followed the rules and provided complete reports in the cases of Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. Published September 8, 2014

High ranking VA official faced drug charge after DUI arrest

A high-ranking Veterans Affairs official who oversees nearly a dozen medical facilities was charged with drunken driving and possession of a controlled substance on a Florida roadside at nearly 2 a.m. one night in April, repeatedly refusing a Breathalyzer before he was taken to jail, records show. Published September 7, 2014

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican (Associated Press) **FILE**

Issa demands interview with IRS lawyer facing disbarment

The House's top investigator sent a letter Wednesday demanding answers from an IRS lawyer in the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility who is facing disbarment and whom a whistleblower has accused of losing IRS files on a party bus to Atlantic City. Published September 3, 2014

Top EPA official accused of assault denies charges

A top official in the EPA's Homeland Security office accused of assaulting a federal agent and stonewalling the agent's investigation says he's been unfairly smeared in a "campaign of harassment" by the press and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Published September 3, 2014

The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. The agency has been under fire for what critics say are politically motivated attacks against conservative organizations. (Associated Press)

IRS lawyer gave ethics training despite complaint against her

The head of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility testified this year that she and her staff must be "impeccable," just weeks before she sent a top aide whose law license had been suspended to lecture tax lawyers on ethics. Published September 2, 2014