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Report: Ex-US attorney wasn’t forthcoming with investigators

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Federal investigators say former U.S. Attorney James Santelle misused a government credit card and was not forthcoming when he spoke with investigators who were probing the matter.

A statement by the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general says investigators concluded that Santelle improperly used his government credit card 37 times to charge about $4,400 in goods and services while not on official travel, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

However, the one-page investigative summary also said there was no evidence that Santelle “sought or received reimbursement for the personal charges.” The Journal Sentinel said that statement appeared to back up a previous claim by Santelle that there was “no financial loss to the government.”

Santelle declined to comment when reached by the Journal Sentinel on Friday. He did not immediately respond to phone and email messages from The Associated Press.

The summary, posted Thursday, said investigators did not find evidence to conclude that Santelle intentionally provided false information to the office of inspector general, but they did find that he “was not forthcoming regarding several of the questioned charges, and that he provided inconsistent and inaccurate explanations to the OIG that unduly lengthened and complicated the investigation.”

Santelle resigned abruptly as U.S. attorney for the eastern half of Wisconsin in July after serving in the post for 5½ years. He publicly acknowledged in March that he was being investigated for possible misuse of his credit card. He said in a statement when he stepped down that it was the “right time” to retire after three decades of government service, and didn’t mention the investigation.

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