September 22, 2010
Special Inquiry: Review of Allegations Regarding Hiring and Contracting in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
In April 2010, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) began receiving allegations concerning hiring and contracting practices within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). These allegations included: 1. Improprieties in the hiring of a contract employee to a senior Federal career position, including concerns that the contract employee was pre-selected or otherwise had an unfair advantage; 2. Performance of inherently governmental duties, including the supervision of Federal employees, by the same contract employee; and, 3. Award of work to a contractor without adequate competition. Although a number of other allegations with similar concerns were received, the OIG chose to focus its attention on those outlined above because of their overall importance to the integrity of the EERE mission, especially its role in the implementation and execution of the Department of Energy's responsibilities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Consequently, we initiated a fact-finding inquiry into these matters. To this end, we interviewed 31 current and former Department employees, including issue area specialists, and identified and reviewed applicable Federal regulations. We also analyzed over 250,000 emails, the results of which yielded evidence, presented in our report, pertaining to the specific allegations included in the scope of our inquiry. Our analysis of emails also disclosed another area of concern that is outlined in this report.