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Friday, July 27, 2012 - Page updated at 04:30 p.m.

8 Justice Department employees accused of nepotism, ethical lapses

By Richard A. Serrano
Tribune Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — Eight senior Department of Justice administrative employees should be disciplined for seeking jobs for their children and other relatives, and the department needs to tighten its employment guidelines after three nepotism incidents in recent years, the Inspector General's Office said Thursday.

In the latest cases, the inspector general's report determined that within certain departments, a culture of "nepotism, ethical lapses and misleading statements" existed regarding hiring.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he expected the Justice Department to take disciplinary action against the employees who sought favoritism for their relatives in landing internships and full-time positions at Justice.

Justice Department officials said they were all the more embarrassed that nepotism was continuing at the Justice Management Division and its Facilities and Administrative Services, Human Relations, Finance and Budget staffs. There were similar findings in those divisions in 2004 and 2008.

Lee Lofthus, assistant attorney general for administration, promised "appropriate and immediate corrective actions."

According to Horowitz's report, eight current or former Justice officials, all senior-level employees, "violated applicable statutes and regulations" in seeking jobs for relatives. Since May 2008, the report said, many relatives were hired, including five daughters, three sons, a cousin, a nephew, a niece and two granddaughters.

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