WASHINGTON — Thousands of technology office employees at the Veterans Affairs Department received a total of $24 million in bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances, the agency's inspector general said in scathing reports that also detail abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship.

The inspector general accused one recently retired VA official of acting "as if she was given a blank checkbook" as awards and bonuses were distributed to employees of the Office of Information and Technology in 2007 and 2008. In some cases the justification for the bonuses was inadequate or questionable, the IG said.

The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said.