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Last year, fewer reports about wrongdoing by DOE employees


The city office that investigates the Department of Education today released a statistical summary of its last year’s work, showing that it completed more investigations in 2008 than in any other recent year.

According to the report (pdf), the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation substantiated 327 cases out of 725 started, reflecting a slight uptick in both the number of cases opened and the number of complaints substantiated.

But the office issued only 17 press releases about its investigations. That’s down by more than a third from 2007, when the office issued 26 press releases. And with an increase in the number of cases substantiated, it turns out that SCI made the conclusions of its investigations public less than 5.5 percent of the time in 2008. Nearly 95 percent of substantiated cases never saw the light of day.

Those cases will become publicly available only if somebody knows about an investigation and files a legal request to find out its conclusion, which was how a year-old investigation about a top DOE official made the news last month.

At that time, a spokeswoman for SCI told Elizabeth that the man who oversees the office, Richard Condon, alone makes the decision about which investigations to publicize. I’m going to see if I can find out more about how he makes the determination about what should go public.