Texas’ top health care fraud investigator resigned Wednesday night, the result of a news report that revealed he was “moonlighting as a federal contractor to provide consulting services and counsel to the government of Iraq.” The Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday it had obtained an unsigned contract showing that Stuart Bowen, inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was to be paid $300 per hour for his work.
Before his appointment by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Bowen served for the U.S. government as the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction for nearly a decade.
A spokesman for Abbott said Bowen had made “a serious and unacceptable lapse in judgment.”
“The day the governor was made aware, he took immediate action and asked Mr. Bowen to resign,” John Wittman, the spokesman, told The Texas Tribune. “The governor is confident the next Inspector General will continue the good work the office has been doing.”
Also Thursday, Texas Monthly reported Bowen had a role in getting Iraq removed from President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several Middle Eastern nations.
Bowen was hired as a senior adviser to a Washington lobby firm named Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which had registered as a foreign agent for the government of Iraq in late 2016, according to the magazine report. After the firm wrote to the Trump administration, invoking Bowen’s name, the president signed a new executive order that dropped Iraq from the list of countries named in the travel ban.
Bowen did not immediately respond to Tribune’s request for comment, but a spokesman said in an email Thursday that Bowen was leaving to “take up new opportunities in the private sector and in Washington.”
In a short resignation letter obtained by the Tribune, Bowen boasted of his track record in Texas government.
“I am proud of the many successes that my truly outstanding staff and I have succeeded in securing as we turned the office into the high performing oversight agency that it is today,” he said.