It’s Not Small’s World After All

On June 20, 2007, an Independent Review Committee (IRC) charged by the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents with investigating the financial scandals during the tenure of former-Secretary Lawrence Small issued a scathing report highly critical of both Small and the Regents.

The report alleged that Small’s “attitude and disposition were ill-suited to public service,” and found that he created “an imperialistic and insular culture in the Office of the Secretary.”

The IRC made clear Small’s resignation had not solved the problems that had plagued the Smithsonian over the past years. “The Smithsonian must correct the underlying deficiencies in its organizational structure, decision making and financial controls that allowed inappropriate management conduct to go undetected.”

Aside from detailing lavish expenses, and excessive compensation and vacation time, perhaps the most damning revelation in the report concerned Small’s lack of fundraising prowess. Despite the fact that Small was hired for his business background and connections, private funds raised from donors actually declined over the course of his tenure. Private funds raised in 2006 were 10 percent lower than the amount raised during Small’s first year in 1999. In addition, business revenue also declined over the same period.