Fed Threatened To Cut Whistleblower With Cake Knife

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Profanity-laced tirades, a threatening cake knife and $1.1 million worth of time fraud are at the center of a Census Bureau office scandal, according to a report the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Forty current and former officials in the Census Bureau’s employment office defrauded the federal government of more than 19,000 work hours over a four-year period, and one supervisor hired a contractor with whom he had a “sexual relationship,” the IG said.

When one Census Hiring and Employment Check worker reported what was happening to the IG, a colleague took the knife in his hand for cutting cake at an office party and, making a “stabbing motion,” said, “This is for who went to the OIG!” the report said.

The same knife-wielding employee also said the whistleblower should “watch out,” calling the whistleblower “chicken****,” a “rat,” and a “snitch,” according to the report.

Management is largely to blame, the IG said.

“We found that a significant percentage of CHEC employees committed time and attendance fraud, as well as other misconduct by certain employees. Certain supervisors were some of the more egregious offenders,” the IG said. Names of the employees weren’t included in the report. “Moreover, even if leadership did not directly engage in the misconduct, it shoulders some responsibility for the serious misconduct by so many employees.”

The supervisor who hired a romantic interest “was not concerned about the appearance of partiality in connection with his involvement in the hiring and supervision of a contractor with whom he was involved in a a sexual relationship,” the IG said. The supervisor also had involvement in hiring a relative and several friends.

Some employees also lied to federal investigators when they began asking questions.

The IG suggested the CHEC office consider recovering the funds and changing the office’s leadership, among other things, but did not specifically recommend pursuing criminal action.

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