By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 18, 2008
The federal government has dropped two investigations into the office of the inspector general overseeing Iraq reconstruction projects, according to a lawyer for the IG.
In a July 3 letter, federal prosecutors said they had closed the criminal investigation of Stuart W. Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, according to Bowen's attorney Bradford Berenson.
"The U.S. attorney's office informed us that the investigation related to Mr. Bowen had been terminated without any charges being brought," Berenson said yesterday. "Mr. Bowen is gratified that this inquiry has concluded without any finding of wrongdoing on his part."
A grand jury had been looking into charges of whether Bowen improperly accessed employee e-mails, Berenson said. Brian McGinn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said "we can't confirm or deny the existence or termination of any criminal investigation handled by our office." He would not comment further.
Earlier this week, the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency wrote in a letter to the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, known as SIGIR, that it too had "terminated the administrative investigation" on Bowen and his deputy, Ginger Cruz. The council, which investigates allegations of misconduct by inspectors general at federal agencies, said it "has elected to close the file and does not contemplate further action in the matter."
"All of the inaccurate and anonymous allegations have been thoroughly investigated and they were all dismissed," Cruz said yesterday. "What's most important to me is that the closure removes any doubt about the integrity of the IG and of this office, which has worked so hard to build a reputation for effective oversight."
SIGIR was created by Congress in 2004 to act as the chief watchdog over the $46 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq.
The federal investigations of SIGIR and its top officials began two years ago, after former employees filed an anonymous complaint with allegations including sexual harassment and improperly compensating some employees for overtime.
In a memo, the agency said it paid $32,700 of Cruz's legal fees. Cruz said the agency paid none of Bowen's legal fees. He personally paid for them, she said. Cruz said she paid another $40,000 in legal fees from her own funds.