July 16, 2012 / 4:28 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. Treasury staffer solicited prostitutes-watchdog report

WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) - A U.S. Treasury Department employee violated conflict of interest rules by using government resources to solicit prostitutes and another by accepting gifts from supervised banks, reports from Treasury’s internal watchdog said.

One investigative report found that a Treasury staffer with the now defunct Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) used his government email to arrange sexual encounters with women advertised on Craigslist, viewed websites offering erotic services and met with prostitutes on three separate occasions.

The OTS has since merged with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OTS official, who retired from government service in 2010, did not provide any banking information to any prostitute, the report said.

The documents, first reported by The Hill newspaper, were posted online on July 9 and made public through a request under the U.S. freedom of information law.

Treasury’s inspector general, which is the internal watchdog for the Treasury Department, OTS and the OCC, also found that a national bank examiner violated conduct standards by accepting gratuities, playing golf during official work hours and recording his golf time as work hours while playing with bank employees.

Bank supervisors are barred from accepting anything of value from the banks they examine and are not allowed to play golf with members of a supervised bank due to potential conflicts of interest.

A spokesman for the OCC said these “are isolated incidences and do not diminish the highly ethical behavior of thousands of other OCC employees.”

“OCC employees, and in particular examiners, are held to ethical standards that go beyond those applicable to government employees generally,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The report also found one long-time employee with Treasury’s Financial Management Services used the government’s express mailing system to process her personal mail from February 2002 through April 2010.

The reports come after Secret Service employees were accused of bringing prostitutes back to their hotel rooms in Colombia ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama this year. (Reporting By Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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