The executive officer of INTERPOL’s Washington, D.C. office “exploited his position” to help his son and several other individuals obtain work, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General concludes in a critical new audit.
The auditors further declared that Executive Officer Warren Lewis and others “used their leadership positions to benefit their friends and acquaintances by placing them in unpaid intern positions.” The 49-page report stated that “by using his position to obtain employment for his son, Lewis failed to adhere to his ethical responsibilities.”
“Internship programs are established for the benefit of the government, not as a fringe benefit for senior officials to dole out to their friends and acquaintances,” the auditors state.
The audit made public Wednesday does not include a response from Lewis or the Justice Department. The Justice Department has not yet responded to a request for comment sent Wednesday morning.
Citing privacy concerns, the audit uses some pseudonyms and does not make public all of the facts uncovered during the investigation.
INTERPOL is the International Criminal Police Organization, with headquarters in Lyon, France. It facilitates communications among law enforcement agencies in 190 countries. INTERPOL Washington is co-managed by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
Lewis has served as executive officer of the D.C. office since September 2007.
During the 2011-2012 period on which auditors focused, the D.C. office employed 70 full-time workers, 50 detailees from other law enforcement agencies, and 50 contractors. In addition, INTERPOL Washington accepted an average of 30 unpaid interns for each of 3 sessions each year.
According to the audit, Lewis’s son Peter was hired as an intern for the summer of 2011.
“Lewis told us that he did not have anything to do with Peter getting an internship,” the auditors noted.
Peter was subsequently hired as a contract worker, at the same time as he was paying rent to his father. His father attempted to “expedite” the son’s security clearance, the auditors say.
“We believe that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question Lewis’s impartiality with respect to the question of whether his son should be selected as an INTERPOL Washington contractor,” the auditors say in the report, which goes into considerable detail on this and related matters.