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Fluor Accused of Using Energy Department Funds to Lobby

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Fluor Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. engineering and construction company, is accused of using funds from an Energy Department contract to pay for lobbying activities that sought more federal money, according to court papers filed by the U.S. Justice Department.

The department announced today that it is joining a false claims lawsuit in federal court in Spokane, Washington, alleging that Fluor Corp. and Fluor Hanford Inc. paid two lobbying companies more than $650,000 with money meant to train emergency personnel at the Energy Department’s Hanford nuclear site.

“The taxpayer money Congress allocated for this program was for training federal emergency response personnel and first responders, not to lobby Congress and others for more funding,” Stuart F. Delery, acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in an e-mailed statement.

The lawsuit was originally filed by whistle-blower Loydene Rambo, a former employee of Fluor.

Keith Stephens, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Fluor, said in an e-mailed statement that the company is aware of the Justice Department action and denies the allegations.

Last year, the company paid $4 million to settle U.S. allegations that it knowingly submitted false claims and paid and received kickbacks involving an Energy Department contract at the same nuclear site.

The case is U.S. ex rel. Rambo v. Fluor Hanford LLC, 11-cv-05037, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington (Spokane).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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