Grassley: DOJ memo on sexual solicitation falls short of ‘zero tolerance’

US Department of StateFrom Press Release


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement regarding a Justice Department memo warning all employees and contractors to refrain from engaging in commercial sex.  The memo, however, did not establish a zero-tolerance policy that Grassley requested requiring the dismissal of employees who purchase sex, without exception.  Grassley’s request was prompted by a recent Inspector General report revealing that Drug Enforcement Administration employees engaged in “sex parties” funded by Mexican drug cartels.

“There is no place in the federal government for employees who purchase sex. This memo itself says that such activity ‘creates a greater demand for human trafficking,’ but fails to impose a sufficiently serious policy that would deter employees from engaging in this practice.  The memo is a good first step, but more needs to be done,” Grassley said.

The Justice Department memo states, “The solicitation of prostitution threatens the core mission of the Department, not simply because it invites extortion, blackmail, and leaks of sensitive or classified information, but also because it undermines the Department’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking. … Department employees who violate these prohibitions will be subject to suspension or termination. Supervisors and managers are subject to discipline for failing to report suspected violations.” The memo stopped short of establishing a zero tolerance policy for staff who purchase sex.

Grassley called for a zero-tolerance policy for Justice Department employees who purchase sex following the report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.  Grassley also led 17 colleagues in calling on the State Department to adopt a similar policy after he received several whistleblower reports of sex solicitation by State Department officials. The State Department has not yet provided a response.