Justice Department watchdog report charges nepotism at Interpol office

A new report by the Justice Department inspector general's office has claimed that the executive officer at Interpol's Washington D.C. office used his position to secure work for his son and other relatives and acquaintances.

In a report released Wednesday, the Justice Department watchdog found that other high-ranking agency officials had also used their position to help get internships for people they know, contributing to what it called "a pervasive culture of nepotism and favoritism."

Interpol's Washington D.C. office is overseen by the Justice Department and serves as a liason between the U.S. government and the international law enforcement body.

The report, which studied a period between 2011 and 2012, says that executive director Warren Lewis told employees to "earmark a spot" for his son and "provide extra attention to his processing, for obvious reasons." The report said Lewis' son was hired as an intern in the summer of 2011 and later was hired as a contractor. The report added that Lewis' son was paying rent to his father at the time of his hiring.

On another occasion, the report claimed, Lewis helped three acquaintances of his son gain jobs at the agency despite never having met two of them.

"Lewis had no personal knowledge of their professional abilities," the report says. "After the three individuals all failed to make the certified lists of qualified applicants, Lewis took steps to overcome their exclusion."

Investigators also claimed that Lewis and other Interpol managers selected students for unpaid internships based solely on their connections. The report said the agency's internship coordinator told investigators that she would not have taken on "several" of those Lewis referred to her, but felt she had no choice but to take them on.

The inspector general's office said it was referring its findings to the deputy attorney general for possible disciplinary action. Lewis, who has been executive officer of Interpol's D.C. office since September 2007, has not commented publicly on the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.