A former Interior Department official in the Obama administration violated the law to benefit a family member affiliated with a global animal welfare group, the department’s inspector general said Tuesday.
The results of the investigation showed that Richard Ruggiero, international conservation chief with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, violated federal ethics laws by participating in a federal cooperative agreement that financially benefited a family member.
Neither Ruggiero nor his family member “disclosed their relationship in writing” to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Ruggiero also shared confidential, “nonpublic” information about the agreement with his family member.
The agreement was with the nonprofit organization International Fund for Animal Welfare, of which Ruggiero’s family member was a member.
The inspector general said Ruggiero initially denied any participation in decisions related to the Fish and Wildlife Service cooperative agreement, “but he later admitted his involvement and that he should have recused himself from working on the agreement,” the investigation report said.