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February 20, 2018
By U.S. Department of Interior Office of Inspector General

The Department of Interior's Inspector General found an Obama administration U.S. Fish and Wildlife official violated conflict of interest laws providing benefits to an animal welfare organization a family member benefited from.

The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General found:
Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Division of International Conservation (DIC), International Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), may have violated Federal ethics regulations when he issued a cooperative agreement and was involved in two grants to nonprofit organizations with which a family member was associated.
We found that Ruggiero violated Federal laws and regulations by participating in an FWS cooperative agreement that financially benefited his family member, and neither Ruggiero nor his family member disclosed their relationship in writing to the FWS. Ruggiero also shared nonpublic FWS information about the agreement with his family member. Ruggiero initially told us he did not participate in any decisions related to the agreement, but he later admitted his involvement and that he should have recused himself from working on the agreement