Federal watchdog is under inquiry

Ex-employees complained about an inspector who found waste in Iraq.

Published May 4, 2007

WASHINGTON - The inspector general who uncovered cases of waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Iraq is under investigation by a presidential panel, according to the White House.

Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, is under investigation after complaints were made by former employees about his work habits and work he required employees to perform. The investigation is headed by the integrity committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which is made up of inspectors general appointed by the president.

"Allegations have been made about Inspector General Bowen, and the integrity committee is investigating them to determine the validity of them, " the council's chairman, Clay Johnson III, said Wednesday.

Former employees filed complaints last year about Bowen not showing up for work for long periods of time in 2004, a former employee told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Complaints were also made alleging that Bowen had employees work on a book that is to explain the lessons of Iraq reconstruction.

Bowen's office, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, declined to comment on the allegations.

Bowen monitors the spending of $22-billion appropriated by Congress for Iraq relief and reconstruction. His office provides quarterly reports on the program and lists any fraud or abuse found by investigators.

In his latest report, released Monday, Bowen credited his office with having conducted 307 investigations. He also said that Iraq was still plagued by power failures, inadequate oil production, shortages of clean water and health-care problems.