Former CMS administrator settles charges of improper billing

Sunday, July 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - Former CMS administrator Tom Scully has agreed to pay $9,782 to settle charges that he allegedly improperly billed the federal government for trips he took when looking for a new job.

Scully resigned from CMS in December 2003 to join the Atlanta-based law firm Alston & Bird. He took the trips during the six months before leaving his post.

According to the settlement agreement, the travel was an inappropriate mingling of Scully's work and his private job search. For example: Scully billed the federal government for a trip to Atlanta that included a "perfunctory" meeting with employees of a regional CMS office and also met with Alston & Bird representatives.

Similar trips to Boston and Santa Barbara, Calif., were cited in the settlement.

Scully, who was open about wanting to move into the private sector, obtained a waiver in May 2003 from the Department of Health and Human Services that permitted him to conduct a job search. However, federal law prohibits government officials from working on matters in which they have a direct financial interest.

In a statement, Scully denied any wrongdoing saying, "The few times I did combine personal meetings with this type of business trip, I did so openly, on the understanding that such joint trips were permissible."