Inspection Report: DOE-OIG-19-45

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August 27, 2019

Alleged Prohibited Activities and Articles at the Office of Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration

The Office of Inspector General received allegations related to alcohol in the Department of Energy’s James Forrestal Headquarters facility, specifically that: (1) a senior Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration Division (ISER) official had hosted several “happy hour” events in the Headquarters facility that included the consumption of alcoholic beverages; and (2) on March 9, 2016, Protective Force officers discovered alcohol in two senior ISER officials’ offices.  During our initial assessment of the complaint, an additional allegation surfaced regarding perceived preferential treatment of the senior officials involved with the alleged alcohol.  We initiated this inspection to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations.

We determined that the senior ISER official had obtained proper approval to bring alcoholic beverages into the Department’s Headquarters facility for several “happy hour” events.  However, we determined that the senior ISER official had not removed the alcoholic beverages from the building after the conclusion of each approved event in accordance with Department policy and, as a result, on March 9, 2016, Protective Force officers confiscated the leftover alcohol from two senior officials’ offices.  Regarding the potential preferential treatment concerns, a Department Ethics official determined that based on the evidence presented, preferential treatment was not proven.

While corrective actions taken by both the Office of Administration and the Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security were positive actions, we made one recommendation aimed at improving internal controls over the confiscation and disposition of unauthorized alcohol at Headquarters.

Topic: Management and Administration