After a series of reports in the Washington Post about Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small’s lavish spending of taxpayer dollars, a new report claims that Small tried to head off the audit by the inspector general. Debra S. Ritt said that Small contacted her and asked her to focus her efforts elsewhere. When she refused Small retaliated by shrinking her budget in order to hamper the operation.
This report follows another article detailing Small’s “Dom Perignon” lifestyle. On Monday a report noted that while Small earned a $915,000 salary, he also brought home $1.15 million for housing expenses during his tenure to help cover the high cost of entertaining guests. The board of regents originally dismissed the charges of the inspector general and termed Small’s expenses as “reasonable” in light of the fact that he has helped to raise $1.1 billion for the institution. The inspector general’s report, however, finds that contributions brought in by the “Smithsonian Ventures” projects was less than the amount Smithsonian businesses contributed in 1999, before Small became secretary, when adjusted for inflation.