Grassley probe finds more shady USMS activity

US Marshals ServiceFrom Press Release


Following a series of letters by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, investigating allegations of improper use of agency resources and questionable hiring practices at the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), more than a half dozen whistleblowers have come forward to corroborate these allegations and shed light on new claims of misconduct.  Alleged impropriety ranging from hiring family members and friends to government-funded cross-country trips for interns to senior officials’ insistence on using government resources to purchase expensive office furnishings raises concern of a systemic culture of waste and misconduct by officials in multiple divisions at USMS.

Grassley outlined the new allegations in a letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Specifically, the committee has received allegations that:

· Assistant Director for the Judicial Security Division Noelle Douglas directed subordinates to offer a lucrative contract to a certain individual with whom she allegedly had a personal relationship;

· Now-Associate Director of Operations William Snelson and then-Judiciary Security Division Chief Inspector David Sligh agreed to hire each other’s wives for positions within their respective divisions;

· Snelson’s wife was subsequently promoted to a position for which she had no experience;

· Assistant Director for the Asset Forfeiture Division, Kimberly Beal, who was the subject of allegations in the previous letters,  hired a family member as an intern and approved multiple government-funded cross-country trips for the intern to attend events intended for criminal investigators;

· Beal insisted upon purchasing top-of-the-line granite with Department resources for a Texas office, allegedly saying, “cost is not a factor;” and

· Former Assistant Director Eben Morales frequently used Department resources to travel to Miami, where he spent time on personal matters.

“These examples are the tip of the iceberg.  According to one whistleblower, they represent the ‘day-to-day business’ of the U.S. Marshals Service,” Grassley wrote.

Whistleblowers also report fear of reprisal from management for disclosing fraud, waste or misconduct. Multiple sources claim that senior leadership submit Freedom of Information Act requests on the whistleblowers in an effort to find information to use as a means of retaliation.

The letter also notes that USMS’ response to Grassley’s inquiry regarding misuse of resources failed to fully answer Grassley’s questions.  For example, USMS stated that it could not provide details on the cost of 57 square feet of granite that whistleblowers allege was purchased without regard for cost and was approved by Beal.

A recent Justice Department response to Grassley’s inquiries regarding hiring practices corrects previous assertions that no impropriety took place following allegations that a quid pro quo between Beal and USMS Director Stacia Hylton resulted in the hiring of an unqualified contractor recommended by Hylton and a promotion for Beal.  DOJ has since pledged to continue its investigation in light of this evidence and Grassley’s concerns.

A signed copy of the letter is available HERE.