Archive for Friday, January 20, 2006

Report finds USDA investigations lacking

January 20, 2006


— The Agriculture Department has pretended to investigate anticompetitive behavior among stockyards and meat companies since 1999, but in hundreds of cases it hasn't actually filed complaints, a new audit shows.

Senior officials blocked investigations from being referred to department lawyers, who can file complaints or refer cases to the Justice Department, according to the audit by the agency's inspector general released Wednesday.

In the meantime, employees were told to create the appearance of a high rate of enforcement by logging routine letters and reviews of public data as investigations, the inspector general said.

As of August, 50 investigations were being held up by deputy administrator JoAnn Waterfield, who quit abruptly last month.


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