January 31, 2013
Alleged Wasteful Spending Regarding International Travel for the Department of Energy's Deputy Secretary
The Department of Energy's Deputy Secretary represents the U.S. Government, the Department and the Secretary in many high-level international and ministerial meetings. In this role, the Deputy Secretary is authorized executive protection while on international travel for security purposes, to reduce the risk of harm and aid mission accomplishment. During such travel, the Deputy Secretary is authorized premium class (first or business class) accommodations, and is usually accompanied by a special agent with law enforcement authority from the Department's Office of Special Operations (OSO), a component of the Office of Health Safety and Security.
The Office of Inspector General received a complaint that, among several issues, alleged mismanagement of the Deputy Secretary's travel. Specifically, it was alleged that the Deputy Secretary "…directed the use of premium class accommodations while on international travel to maintain business class travel status, resulting in wasteful spending." We initiated this inspection to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding this allegation.
The allegation that the Deputy Secretary improperly influenced or directed the use of premium class accommodations while on international travel was not substantiated.
Our inspection, however, revealed an administrative issue regarding the OSO's maintenance of documentation prepared to support the need for premium class accommodations. After we brought this issue to their attention, OSO officials initiated steps to address this issue.
Topic: Management & Administration