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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

Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, speaks to reporters after a joint interview with Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" on Sept. 10, 2010, in Johnston, Iowa. (Associated Press)

Despite porn pledge, scientists accused of studying 'anatomy'

Despite a pledge last year to crack down on porn snooping among its federal employees and contractors - including one former executive who accessed illicit websites on at least 331 days - the National Science Foundation is facing renewed questions about whether workers are still surfing for smut on the government's time. Published September 15, 2010

**FILE** Former Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold (Associated Press)

Amtrak defends ouster of watchdog

Amtrak officials are defending their handling of the unexpected departure last year of longtime Inspector General Fred Weiderhold, whom top congressional Republicans say lost his job after exposing waste, fraud and abuse throughout the rail service. Published September 14, 2010

**FILE** A Red Cap stands next to an Amtrak train waiting for passengers at a platform at New York's Penn Station in 2005. (Associated Press)

Amtrak hiring of outside lawyers called 'wasteful'

A congressional probe is calling for an end to Amtrak's use of expensive outside lawyers to represent its top employees during administrative investigations, calling the practice wasteful and unheard of across government. Published September 13, 2010

Amtrak's ouster of IG puts heat on rail service

Amtrak officials pushed the agency's longtime inspector general to resign — without telling Congress — after the watchdog official exposed wrongdoing, mismanagement and criminal activity inside the taxpayer-funded rail service, a congressional probe has found. Published September 12, 2010

**FILE** In this photo from May 11, 2009, a letter is mailed from a post office in Palo Alto, Calif. (Associated Press)

Audit of Priority Mail's ads: Doesn't 'fit'

Made popular by the "If it fits, it ships" slogan in television ads, the Priority Mail initiative is seen as a bright spot during otherwise tough economic times for the U.S. Postal Service, where multibillion-dollar deficits and declining mail volume have officials moving to cut a day of delivery. Published September 8, 2010

Amtrak hired private lawyers for executives

Top Amtrak officials declined to participate in an internal investigation until they were provided private lawyers on the government-owned company's dime, an unusual request considering they were not even targets of the probe. Published September 2, 2010

Preciado captured in Mexico

Alma Preciado, a mortgage broker and one-time prominent figure in Maryland politics, has been captured in Mexico more than a year after she skipped her sentencing in a mortgage fraud case that prompted a judge to call her Montgomery County's own "little Bernie Madoff." Published September 2, 2010

Dr. Donald Berwick

Medicare director won't ID donors to think tank

Before he took over the nation's Medicare and Medicaid agency this summer, Dr. Donald Berwick retired from the nonprofit health care think tank he co-founded with a nearly $900,000 compensation package and a seven-figure executive retirement plan. Published August 29, 2010

No-bid contracts got 'short shrift' at Postal Service

The executive in charge of the U.S. Postal Service's $13 billion supply-management operation has acknowledged "cracks in the system," saying more than 30 percent of the agency's contracting-officer positions remained unfilled. Published August 26, 2010

Postal officials gave varying accounts of ex-executive's perks

Records show that the U.S. postmaster general and his top officials gave investigators varying accounts about the decision to allow a top executive to retain his six-figure outside corporate jobs while working full time, earning more than $230,000 as president of shipping and mailing, for the U.S. Postal Service. Published August 25, 2010

Ethics office warns about waivers

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics is warning federal agencies against retroactively waiving ethics rules for federal employees who've taken actions that pose potential conflicts of interest. Published August 19, 2010

**FILE** Antoine Jones

Felons can still get liquor licenses in D.C.

Antoine Jones didn't mention his prior felony drug-dealing convictions in Virginia and the District on the 2004 application he filled out to receive a liquor license from the D.C. government. Published August 17, 2010

RECESS APPOINTMENT: Dr. Donald Berwick can serve for a while without a Senate vote or a hearing. (AP Photo)

Medicare chief's ties questioned

As administrator for the $800-billion-a-year Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Dr. Donald Berwick is charged with implementing many of President Obama's sweeping health care mandates in ways that undoubtedly will affect health plans, hospitals and health care providers across the country. Published August 10, 2010

Court rejects govt. use of GPS tracking

Ruling that federal agents erred in attaching a satellite tracking device to a vehicle without a search warrant, a federal appeals court Friday reversed the life sentence of man accused of running a major Washington drug ring. Published August 6, 2010

OMB nominee errs on ethics form

President Obama's nominee to oversee the federal budget is amending his latest government ethics filing after misreporting the date he left his job at Citigroup Inc. - addressing questions about his eligibility for a nearly $1 million bonus weeks after the company was bailed out by taxpayers. Published August 3, 2010

Jacob Lew

Senator wants answers about nominee's windfall

The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee is pressing for details about a $940,000 bonus paid by Citigroup after it was bailed out by taxpayers to a former executive who now is President Obama's nominee to oversee the federal budget. Published July 30, 2010

White House breaches no-bid contracts vow

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. pledged to end abuse of no-bid contracting and require competitive bidding on nearly all contract orders for more than $25,000 across the federal government. But the White House has made at least one exception. Published July 29, 2010

Jacob Lew

OMB nominee got $900,000 after Citigroup bailout

EXCLUSIVE: President Obama's choice to be the government's chief budget officer received a significant windfall from his Wall Street employer, who received a massive taxpayer bailout only months earlier. Published July 28, 2010

Bernstock

Wrinkles found in Postal Service pact

When the U.S. Postal Service's top marketing officer agreed to hire Goldman Sachs nearly two years ago without a written contract, top executives inside postal headquarters scrambled to make the unauthorized deal square with postal procurement rules. Published July 18, 2010

Bloomberg
"I am also eligible to receive discretionary compensation for 2008," Jacob J. "Jack" Lew wrote.

Obama overlooks Lew's time as COO

When Obama introduced his top budget officer, he praised his work handling finances in the Clinton White House and recently as a deputy secretary - but he forgot to mention the lucrative Wall Street job in between. Published July 14, 2010