WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson collected nearly half a million dollars in questionable payments from four federally funded nuclear labs after she left office, the Energy Department's inspector general says in a new report.
Wilson failed to provide documentation for the work she did to earn $20,000 a month from the Los Alamos and Sandia national labs in New Mexico from January 2009 to March 2011, the report said.
Officials at the Nevada Test Site and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee acknowledged there "were no deliverables" associated with $30,000 the two labs paid Wilson. And Sandia and Los Alamos appear to have asked Wilson to help them secure more work for the labs, an apparent violation of her contract, the report said.
In total, nearly $450,000 in questionable payments were identified, the bulk from Los Alamos and Sandia.
The contractors that run the labs billed the payments to the government, "even though they did not receive evidence that work performed under the agreements had been completed," the report said.
The contractors, which include Lockheed Martin, Bechtel and other companies, have since paid back most of the money to the government, but an investigation continues. In all the government recovered $442,877 of $464,203 paid to Wilson, the report said.
In a statement emailed Tuesday to The Associated Press, Wilson said the report "confirms that the labs were satisfied with my work. The work was done in full compliance with the contracts we signed and under the direct supervision of lab sponsors."
Wilson, a Republican who represented New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, collected much of the money in between two unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate.