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Inspection Report: INS-O-14-01

January 29, 2014

Performance of Work for a Non-Department Entity at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engaged in illegal competition with the private sector by performing work for a non-Federal entity, and that the facilities and resources of LLNL were used inappropriately to perform this outside work.  These allegations involve explosives-related work performed at LLNL for a National Geographic documentary about the Lusitania, a British passenger ship that sank in May 1915. 

Our inspection substantiated certain aspects of the allegation.  Specifically, we found that LLNL did not adequately consider the prohibitions against a Federally Funded Research and Development Center competing with the private sector when performing work for National Geographic's documentary, The Dark Secrets of the Lusitania, and that LLNL used Department facilities and resources inappropriately, to include $81,746 in Licensing and Royalty funds, to perform work for National Geographic.  In addition, the work performed for the documentary did not appear to be consistent with LLNL's mission.

These conditions occurred, in part, because LLNL did not follow the established Work for Others process but instead pursued an alternate, less formal process for approving and funding the documentary as a non-reimbursable project that used Licensing and Royalty funds.  Management concurred with our recommendations and indicated that it was in the process of implementing corrective actions that were generally responsive to our findings and recommendations.

TOPIC: Management & Administration