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In the Loop: The TARP police are hiring

But the mayor was still at his office that day, doing business as usual. A top anti-corruption official said the mayor, who says he was framed, was free on bail pending appeal. Prosecutors said he should nevertheless be barred from his office.

Hey, a guy's got to eat. So the battle against corruption might take a while.

Never mind

Speaking of waste, fraud and abuse, the State Department's inspector general went to the Rio Grande this summer to investigate allegations by Robert McCarthy, general counsel of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, that the USIBWC violated laws and regulations, including a $220 million Recovery Act program to raise levees along the river.

McCarthy, according to the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told the IG that commission officials altered official government records, made false reports to the inspector general, misappropriated funds, built substandard levees, and operated unsafe dams and wastewater-treatment plants.

McCarthy was fired -- a move he appealed, claiming unlawful whistleblower retaliation.

A spokesman for the USIBWC responded in August that many of the management problems PEER cited had long been resolved, but it was refreshing to see the commission request an outside audit of things.

It issued a formal "solicitation" on Sept. 15 for an "independent comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of the USIBWC in executing its programs" and an "evaluation of the USIBWC organizational structure and right-sizing."

"An assessment also is needed due to the following developments: numerous reorganizations of the USIBWC headquarters have taken place in the past ten years by a succession of permanent and acting agency heads and without the benefit of consistently methodical approaches; the agency is experiencing new mission requirements; and the agency is declining significantly in overall indicators of human capital performance."

The solicitation was canceled Nov. 16, so maybe things have gotten better on their own.

Ensor to the embassy?

Word at the State Department is that David Ensor, longtime national security correspondent for CNN and more recently executive vice president for communications at Mercuria Energy Group in London, is being talked about to run the public affairs office at the embassy in Kabul.

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