“Please be careful [the family member] actually applying for a job at EPA, “said Domenech, according to the investigation. In an interview with investigators, Domenech described the meeting as awkward and remembered pulling the official aside and saying, “Hey, I’m really sorry. I didn’t arrange this.”
The following morning, Domenech – who was nominated for his position by President Trump – sent an official e-mail to senior EPA officials from the Home Office e-mail account. In it, he identified his son-in-law, whose investigators refused to name names, and added a link to the person’s website. Domenech closed the e-mail by writing, “Let me know if we can serve.” The e-mail included the block and title of Domenech’s signature at that time: senior adviser, U.S. Department of the Interior
“We determined that a reasonable person with knowledge of relevant facts would conclude that Domenech seemed to be abusing his position to support and promote [the family member] despite Domenech’s stated intentions, “the report said. As a result, the supervisor concluded that Domenech’s actions were contrary to ethical principles.
In a statement Friday, three Democrat committee leaders in the House of Representatives promised to follow up. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY), chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (Va.), Chair of the Government Operations subcommittee, and Rep. Harley Rouda (Calif.), Chair, Environment, Environment subcommittee, criticized the position of the Department of the Interior that the matter was handled.
“This is the second time he has violated ethical rules – despite receiving training – so the Department’s claim that the problem is resolved … is unacceptable,” noted the MP. They expressed concern that the unnamed EPA official “ignored six different requests to be interviewed by the Inspector General.”
Last year, the inspector general issued a report that said Domenech violated ethical rules by meeting with his former employer, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in April 2017, within one year of his work at the Interior.
The interior said Domenech’s violations occurred before the department launched efforts to build a “culture of ethical compliance” by expanding the ethics department, said spokesman Nicholas Goodwin. Since then, it has grown from 21 officials to 63.
But that doesn’t discuss the fact that Domenech had received ethics training before the concert, lawmakers said. In his response, Goodwin did not mention what training Domenech received as a result of expansion or how his superiors handled the behavior of assistant secretaries.
Domenech told investigators that his intention to send an email was to move the process. Does it affect, the researchers ask. “Well, when I think of influencing … I think you are right,” the assistant secretary said. “I’m trying to influence the process of moving together. It’s different from influencing the recruitment process.”
Four days after the e-mail, the EPA official passed it on to the EPA employee who selected the candidate and conducted an interview for the vacancy. “Do you know where this stands?” the senior official wrote. “Yes,” said a reply the next day, the agency was preparing to employ several people and Domenech’s son-in-law was one of them.
About six weeks later, Domenech sent another e-mail to ask if EPA was “still interested” in hiring a daughter-in-law. The flurry of e-mail between the two ended when EPA officials asked Domenech to let him know if the son-in-law was in.
Domenech responded the next day: “[They] To do! Thank you very much. “The son-in-law and other candidates interviewed for the work in the winter of 2017. The EPA chose the official elected member of the Domenech family, who accepted.
“At the time of this incident, Domenech was not new to government service,” the investigation said. “On the contrary, Domenech has more than 10 years of Federal service. During those years, he received initial and annual ethics training. In addition, he received two ethics trainings in the first 2 months of his arrival in 2017, both of which specifically discussed the Federal ban on misuse of position. “
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