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Inspection Report: DOE/IG-0903

March 26, 2014

Procurement Internal Controls at Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Office of Inspector General received an allegation from the Los Alamos Field Office concerning a possible conflict of interest in a consultant agreement awarded to an individual who was the spouse of a senior manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  It was alleged that neither the consultant nor the senior manager disclosed their spousal relationship to LANL.  Further, it was alleged that work was performed before the consultant agreement was signed and also that hours were charged by the consultant for work that was not performed.  We initiated this inspection to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations.

The allegations were substantiated.  We found that LANL inappropriately awarded a sole source consultant agreement to an individual who was the spouse of a senior LANL manager.  We also discovered that the consultant did not disclose his spousal relationship with the senior LANL manager at the time of award.  In addition, the senior manager did not notify LANL ethics officials or her superior of a potential conflict of interest involving her spouse's consulting agreement until 5 months after the consultant agreement was awarded.  The issues identified in this report occurred, in part, because a LANL official who sponsored the consultant agreement failed to recognize and address apparent conflict of interest issues.

Management agreed with the findings and recommendations noted in the report, and indicated that the Los Alamos Field Office has supervised the implementation of the recommended corrective actions and will engage in ongoing oversight to evaluate the sustained effectiveness of these actions.  Management also indicated that it will ensure that lessons learned from this incident are shared across the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Topic: Management and Adminstration