SEATTLE — A federal employee in Seattle helped expose a fraud in which an Army veteran lied his way to a Purple Heart and hundreds of thousands of dollars in government benefits.
The agency Cristina Jackson works for repeatedly tried to punish her for what it said were violations of the man’s privacy, according to an AP review of hundreds of pages of personnel and investigative records.
U.S. Commerce Department officials proposed suspending her for at least a month — even as they reached one of two settlements with the veteran. Darryl Lee Wright was paid for skipped work and legal fees he incurred complaining about a hostile work environment.
They tried to downgrade Jackson’s annual rating, then proposed a shorter suspension.
Jackson says she has racked up $20,000 in legal bills fighting the discipline. The Commerce Department, which did not respond to requests for comment, has refused to reimburse her.
"To this day I don’t understand it," Jackson, 55, said. "What does ‘vindication’ even mean when the agency I work for doesn’t see it that way?"
Wright, 48, pleaded guilty to federal charges in February, more than six years after Jackson told her bosses that he had…