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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

Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District (Associated Press) **FILE**

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

Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in this March 5, 2014, file photo. (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

Lois G. Lerner (Associated Press)

IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 hard drives

Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner's computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives. Published July 21, 2014

White House warned about 'antiquated' VA scheduling system 5 years ago

Acting Veteran Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson assured Congress last week that the VA is working hard to replace its "antiquated" scheduling system, but the Obama administration first received clear notice more than five years ago about the need for an overhaul to reduce patient wait times. Published July 20, 2014

**FILE** Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks during a news conference in Washington on March 18, 2014. (Associated Press)

Jeh Johnson pressed on $190M contract to company amid fraud probe

Two top lawmakers demanded Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson explain why one of his federal agencies signed a contract for up to $190 million with a background check company the government is already targeting for fraud. Published July 17, 2014

Rep. Blake Farenthold, Texas Republican, has begun a House hearing on a series of scandals involving senior executives. (Associated Press)

Series of federal scandals taint Senior Executive Service

Created under President Carter, the Senior Executive Service was designed to promote the best and brightest in federal government to transform the nation's bureaucracy, but a series of scandals is prompting congressional lawmakers to question whether the elite cadre of the federal workers is living up to its promise. Published July 14, 2014

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

The House's top investigator demanded Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker take "immediate action" to discipline a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office commissioner accused of nepotism, saying in a letter late last week that the agency's professional reputation was at stake. Published July 13, 2014

Patent official threatened to sue IG over damning report

A commissioner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) threatened to sue a government watchdog agency who revealed the woman pressured staff to hire the live-in boyfriend of an immediate relative, a congressman said Friday. Published July 11, 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)

EXCLUSIVE: Head of trademark office accused of nepotism

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office commissioner ran afoul of several ethics laws by pressuring officials into hiring the unqualified live-in boyfriend of an immediate relative, a Commerce Department investigation revealed Thursday. Published July 10, 2014

FILE  This Oct. 9, 2003 file photo shows soldiers from the U.S. Army's 720th Military Police Battalion watching as a mine sweeper look for weapons in a hole they dug during a raid on a farmland just outside Tikrit, Iraq. The Obama administration announced Friday that the US will no longer produce or acquire anti-personnel land mines and plans to join an international treaty banning their use.  (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)

Iraq War logistics contract goes on years after withdrawal

It's been more than two years since the U.S. withdrew almost all military forces from Iraq, but the multibillion-dollar logistics contract to support American troops there will likely go on for the better part of another decade, records show. Published July 8, 2014

FILE - In this May 24, 2013 file photo, a wheelchair sits outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Atlanta. The FBI revealed on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, that it had opened a criminal investigation into a Department of Veterans Affairs reeling from allegations of falsified records and inappropriate scheduling practices. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

VA workplace complaints highlight retaliation

In one of the bizarre workplace complaints at the Department of Veterans Affairs in recent years, a VA nurse in Louisiana testified that a colleague threatened to tie her up, put her in the trunk of a car and drive her into a bayou, department records show. Published July 7, 2014

Associated Press

Immigration agents accused of database abuse; cartels make corruption easy

At least a half-dozen federal immigration agents have come under investigation since 2012 for snooping into law enforcement databases — computer misconduct ranging from "self queries" to accusations that one of them tried to use the databases to warn drug smugglers if they were under investigation. Published July 6, 2014