WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ public affairs chief is being investigated by the department of the inspector general after allegations that she abused her authority and its employees for personal affairs, US officials said on Tuesday.
The Pentagon, in a statement recognise there is an “ongoing review” of Dana W. White, but had no other reaction.
The officials, who for anonymity to discuss details of the investigation, said that White would have routinely used its own staff to run errands for her, pick up the lunch, and help with other arrangements. She said that they had an employee drive her to work on a snowy day, and as the person complained they wrote a cheque to cover the cost of the trip.
Officials said that White also is accused of retaliation against employees, and the transfer of workers outside their work without cause, including after the staff complained about certain jobs and tasks. There is frequent staff turnover in her office, and she had four different military assistants — usually a colonel in a rank in the last 16 months.
The use of staff for personal tasks is prohibited. At least two former employees filed a complaint with the inspector general in the past few months, but others are interviewed in connection with the cases.
White, who is traveling in South America with Mattis, declined to comment. Bruce Anderson, spokesman of the IG, said: “the DoD Office of the Inspector General does not generally acknowledge or deny the existence of an investigation.”
The investigation was first reported by CNN.
White has worked as Mattis, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs since April of 2017. Previously, she worked as strategic communications director for the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Paris and was an adviser on the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The IG will be the investigation and, if the allegations are well-founded, will be the release of the report public. If the claims are not substantiated the reports are usually not released.