It’s been no secret that this administration has had a problem with scandal and corruption in several departments. Many reports have surfaced just recently about federal employees misusing taxpayer funds buy purchasing thousands of dollars in frivolous and non-work related products.
Last year, it was revealed that Department of Homeland Security employees charged $30,000 worth of Starbucks coffee onto their government issued credit cards.
This week, the US Patent Office was in the cross-hairs after it was determined an employee received over 18 full weeks of pay for time he spent not working and instead playing golf.
The employee, who worked as a patent examiner in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), earned over $70,000 a year despite “egregious time and attendance abuse,” which was not checked by managers at the office. The employee, referred to in the report as “Examiner A,” resigned after learning of the OIG’s investigation.
“According to the evidence, Examiner A received payment for over 18 full weeks of work, in aggregate, that he did not actually work,” the audit said. “Ultimately, USPTO management’s system of internal controls did not detect Examiner A’s time and attendance abuse; to the contrary, these issues did not come to light until a whistleblower submitted anonymous notes to the examiner’s supervisor and another manager.”
The abused hours accounted for 43 percent of the employee’s total hours for the year. The hours amounted to 91 eight-hour workdays, or roughly 3 months. The OIG recorded 58 full workdays where there was no evidence that he entered the building.
However, the OIG said the employee likely got away with being paid for more hours he was not working because the employee was “given the benefit of the doubt.”
The benefit of the doubt. It seems like whenever government or government interests are involved, they are given the benefit of the doubt. Ordinary citizens? Not so much.