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Whistleblowers tell Grassley of new inappropriate spending by USMS

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032From Press Release

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is investigating new allegations of inappropriate spending within the U.S. Marshals Service, including the use of government resources for personal gain, unnecessary travel and inappropriate payment of salaries out of a fund established from forfeited assets.

According to agency whistleblowers, at least three high-ranking employees directed subordinates and federal contractors to draft their applications for Senior Executive Service positions using public office resources. Asset Forfeiture Division Assistant Director Kimberly Beal and Judicial Security Division Assistant Director Noelle Douglas were promoted to their current posts after they allegedly influenced subordinates to write Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) statements for their applications while on the clock.  Former Asset Forfeiture Division Assistant Director Eben Morales allegedly ordered government contractors to write his ECQs and bill their time to the government when seeking his promotion, which he received.

Whistleblowers also claim that high-ranking officials use the Assets Forfeiture Fund to pay for extensive travel to events that produce little or no benefit to the agency, or have nothing to do with work. For example, certain members of the Asset Forfeiture Division from across the country allegedly convene twice a year at Marshals Service headquarters for an “Asset Forfeiture Leadership Council,” but it’s unclear what the purpose of these meetings are, and multiple sources told the Committee that the meetings are “a waste of time” and “never accomplish anything.”

Further, the Committee has received allegations the Asset Forfeiture Division is using the Assets Forfeiture Fund to pay for non-forfeiture related expenses, in violation of federal law.  Specifically, some Marshals Service employees’ salaries are being fully funded through the Assets Forfeiture Fund even though they spend a substantial portion of their time on matters unrelated to forfeiture operations. The Assets Forfeiture Fund was established to support law enforcement activities related to asset forfeiture, not to supplant agency appropriations.

Grassley is seeking more details on these allegations from the Justice Department, which has pledged to share information with the Committee as its Office of Inspector General carries out its own separate investigation.

A signed copy of Grassley’s letter can be found here.