Editors Choice

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Waste, Fraud and Nepotism Investigation of US Marshals. Texas Tops the Charts

The report shows that no matter which Gov. Dept, Fraud and Corruption will happen. Judges are no different and This Bill Should be Rejected.

Allegations of Improper Hiring Practices and Whistleblower Reprisal at the U.S. Marshal Service

LIT is republishing this report at a time when the Senate Judiciary Committee  – comprising mostly the same members who investigated the US Marshal Service in 2015 – are who are now advocating wasting billions of dollars of taxpayers funds to ‘protect’ judges, care of the US Marshal Service.

In doing so the proposed “privacy” legislation wants to make it a criminal offence to list basic information about a judge and their legally required financial disclosures, which is unconstitutional and violates the first amendment.

You can read more about this proposed bill which gained approval by  the Senate Judiciary this week. We’ve also included the actual Bill below.

NOVEMBER 2016 REPORT | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

Bill to Over Protect Federal Judges who Volunteer for Public Service and Who Receive a Lifetime Appointment and Absolute Judicial Immunity e.g. Currently, Judges are only Accountable to Themselves. No-one Should receive this type of Immunity. The report shows that no matter which Gov. Dept, Fraud and Corruption will happen. Judges are no different and This Bill Should be Rejected.

Executive Summary

Since February 2015, the Chairman’s office has received protected disclosures alleging various forms of waste, fraud, and abuse within the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) from more than 85 whistleblowers, primarily current and former USMS employees.

The disclosures involve alleged inappropriate and wasteful spending of the Assets Forfeiture Fund, inappropriate hiring and promotion practices, conflicts of interest, and reprisal against whistleblower employees and those who participate in protected activity. This re- port summarizes the facts and draws conclusions regarding certain allegations of improper hiring and promotion practices and conflicts of interest.

First, this report addresses an allegation of a quid pro quo be- tween the former Director of the USMS and the former Assistant Director of the USMS Asset Forfeiture Division. Specifically, it was alleged that the Director recommended a friend from college to the Assistant Director for a contractor position and that the Assistant Director, in order to gain a promotion, violated contracting guide- lines to ensure he was hired despite his lack of qualifications.

While we found no direct evidence of an explicit quid pro quo agreement, the circumstances do create the appearance that an ex- change of favors occurred. However, the allegation that the college friend was hired for the advertised position for which he was un- qualified was not substantiated.

Nevertheless, the former Director did recommend him and the former Assistant Director (1) was un- usually and significantly involved in the contractor’s hiring and (2) created a second, unadvertised position specifically for him that was neither planned nor necessary after it was determined he was not qualified for the original position.

Additionally, there is some evidence that the Assistant Director’s prolonged access to the role in an acting capacity, with limited competition and through the course of two misconduct investigations, created the impression for employees that the agency manipulated the promotion process for her benefit.

Second, the report addresses allegations of improper hiring and promotion practices and conflicts of interest previously raised in the Chairman’s letters involving the former Assistant Director of the Judicial Security Division as well as the Associate Director of Operations, the current Acting Marshal for the Western District of Texas, and their spouses.

Third, the report examines how and why the Department’s initial response to the quid pro quo allegation involving the Director and the Assistant Director of the Asset Forfeiture Division contained inaccurate information. That initial response stated that the Director did not recommend the contractor, although additional evidence later discovered contradicted that claim.

The report attributes the error to a failure to conduct sufficient due diligence prior to submitting a response.

Finally, the report analyzes recent and developing reforms within the USMS related to its hiring and promotion practices and compliance with the whistleblower protection laws. The report recommends additional and continued oversight of these reforms, as well as the development of manager-focused education and training regarding appropriate responses to employee protected activity.

Read the Full Report with Supporting Evidence

Judiciary Committee Report: U.S. Marshals Service Needs Greater Oversight To Address Misconduct And Whistleblower Protections

NOV 29, 2016 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today released the findings of an extensive investigation into allegations of misconduct at the U.S. Marshals Service, including misuse of funds, quid pro quos and mistreatment of whistleblowers.  The majority staff report recommends that the Justice Department improves oversight of the Marshals Service’s hiring practices, and calls on the Marshals Service to adopt a stronger merit-based culture.

“The Judiciary Committee majority staff’s findings highlight some of the concerns raised by several dozen whistleblowers over the past couple years – things like undue favoritism, using official funds as an office piggy bank; and retaliation against those who try to fix these problems. These issues need to be addressed to restore the integrity and morale in an important government agency that we depend on for public safety. Throughout the Committee’s inquiry, several high-level officials have retired, clearing the way for new blood. It’s going to take greater oversight from the Justice Department and a renewed commitment by the Marshals Service to turn things around.  The Marshals Service must take the necessary steps to create a positive work environment that rewards success and good behavior in order to continue providing Americans with quality service now and in the future,” Grassley said.

Since Grassley began an inquiry into several whistleblower claims of misconduct in early 2015, more than 85 current and former Marshals Service employees have come forward to expose potential misconduct.  Throughout the course of the inquiry, the committee has requested information concerning:
•    An alleged exchange of favors in which a deputy assistant director agreed to hire a friend of the director in return for a promotion;
•    The alleged improper hiring and promotion of spouses and personal partners;
•    Misuse of the Assets Forfeiture Fund to purchase expensive and lavish office furnishings;
•    Misuse of personnel and resources to prepare job applications for senior executive positions; and
•    Inaccurate and misleading responses to the Committee’s inquiries.

The Committee has received sufficient information from the department to address some of these allegations, but the investigation of remaining allegations continues.

The report concludes that the Justice Department should improve its oversight of the Marshals Service, particularly with regard to its hiring practices and treatment of whistleblowers.  The report also recommends that the Marshals Service engage with its employees to promote a culture that rewards employees based on their performance rather than their relationships with leadership.  Finally, the report underscores the need for the Marshals Service to halt whistleblower reprisal, which can have a chilling effect on employees who seek to improve the agency’s conduct and effectiveness for the people it serves.

The full staff report is available HERE.

Probe Prompts More Whistleblower Claims Of Quid Pro Quos, Nepotism At U.S. Marshals Service

APR 23, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – 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.

Full text of the letter is below.

April 23, 2015

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable Sally Quillian Yates
Acting Deputy Attorney General
United States Department of Justice

Dear Acting Deputy Attorney General Yates:

On March 18th and 19th I sent two letters, one to you and one to U.S. Marshals Service Director Hylton regarding whistleblower allegations of (1) quid pro quo hiring practices and (2) waste and misuse of asset forfeiture funds by the U.S. Marshals Service. Although the Department’s review of these matters continues, more than a half dozen whistleblowers have contacted the Committee to make additional, troubling allegations since March 18.

First, multiple whistleblowers have now corroborated various aspects of the initial reports. These whistleblowers have confirmed that Assistant Director of the Asset Forfeiture Division Kimberly Beal went to unusual lengths to ensure that Donald Lenzie was hired by AFD contractor Forfeiture Support Associates, allegedly in order to curry favor with Director Hylton, who knew Mr. Lenzie in college. As I wrote in my April 7, 2015, follow-up letter regarding the Lenzie matter, Director Hylton placed Ms. Beal in the position of Acting Assistant Director of the AFD shortly after Mr. Lenzie was hired.

The position was allegedly reclassified from 1811 (criminal investigator) to 0301 (administrator) for the purpose of accommodating Ms. Beal’s lack of law enforcement training. Ms. Beal also retained her position as Acting Assistant Director for over two years, including while under investigation by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General for retaliating against a whistleblower.

Her acting position granted her access to experience that could later support her application for the permanent position and help exclude other well-qualified candidates.

I appreciate the Department’s initial response to my April 7 follow-up letter acknowledging that its earlier explanation was inaccurate and providing evidence that, in the Department’s words, “appears to be inconsistent with representations in our March 26, 2015 letter.” I agree with the Department’s assessment.

In its initial March 26 letter, the Department stated: “Mr. Lenzie’s hiring was not unduly influenced by the Director. After Mr. Lenzie applied for the SFFS position in September 2011, he e-mailed his resume to the Director, which she forwarded to Ms. Beal for her awareness.

The Director did not recommend Mr. Lenzie for any position . . . .” On April 17, the Department provided the Committee with an e-mail chain indicating that AD Beal, at the time Deputy Assistant Director of AFD, received Mr. Lenzie’s resume from Director Hylton’s personal e-mail address.

Ms. Beal then forwarded that resume to then-Assistant Director Eben Morales, stating: “Director called and has forwarded the resume of a Customs agent that she highly recommends for the jump team FFS in Boston.” This evidence directly contradicts the Department’s previous statements and corroborates the whistleblowers’ allegations of a quid pro quo.

The Department’s efforts to correct its earlier inaccurate statements to the Committee are commendable. However, allowing the USMS to lead a review of itself in this matter seems unwise.

Not only was the Department’s initial response inconsistent with the evidence, but information obtained by the Committee also clearly shows that this matter was reported to the USMS Office of General Counsel (OGC) as early as December 2013.

Yet, the OGC apparently failed to take the allegation seriously or take any steps to address it. Moreover, USMS officials informed my staff that they consulted with OGC about the allegations before the Department’s initial response was submitted to my office.

These facts raise serious questions about whether and to what extent the USMS OGC reviewed the Department’s initial reply to this Committee without correcting its inaccuracies.

The more than half dozen whistleblowers who have come forward in the last month have provided information suggesting that the Lenzie hiring is not an isolated incident.

Rather, those whistleblowers have alleged that improper hiring practices were used in multiple instances to reward or benefit relatives and friends of senior leadership. The allegations present a troubling and longstanding pattern of nepotism and quid pro quos in the selection of contractor and USMS staff positions.

For example, multiple whistleblowers allege that Assistant Director of the Judicial Security Division, Noelle Douglas, is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General for directing subordinates to offer a lucrative contract position to a certain individual with whom she allegedly had a personal relationship.

Multiple whistleblowers also have disclosed that as far back as 2009-2010, senior leadership in other divisions at USMS agreed to “hire each other’s wives.” As a result of this quid pro quo hiring, the wife of now Associate Director of Operations William Snelson was allegedly hired by then-Judiciary Security Division Chief Inspector David Sligh, while Mr. Sligh’s wife was hired by then-Tactical Operations Division Assistant Director Snelson.

It is further alleged that USMS may have violated basic internal controls standards by allowing Mr. Snelson’s wife, while working in the Justice Security Division, to nevertheless manage the budget for a TOD program operating under Mr. Snelson at the time.

Whistleblowers also allege that, following Mr. Snelson’s promotion to Associate Director, his wife was hired within the Asset Forfeiture Division, although she allegedly has no experience in asset forfeiture.

Information obtained by the Committee confirms that Mrs. Snelson currently works in AFD.

Whistleblowers also allege that improper hiring practices extend to interns and other lower-level positions. For example, Ms. Beal allegedly secured an intern position for a relative and used Department resources to pay for the intern to travel multiple times across the country to attend trainings and conferences intended for criminal investigators.

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.

Multiple whistleblowers also have alleged widespread and systemic waste, misuse, and abuse of the Assets Forfeiture Fund.

These allegations corroborate the lavish spending by individuals in the Asset Forfeiture Division discussed in the Committee’s March 18, 2015, letter and again point to a pattern of cavalier use of asset forfeiture money by USMS.

The Committee is continuing to review the USMS response to the March 18 letter on this topic. However, like the Department’s response to the March 19 letter regarding quid pro quo allegations, this response is troubling and appears incomplete. For example, the USMS claims in its response that it cannot provide an exact estimate for the granite installed in the Asset Forfeiture Academy in Houston, Texas, although it does disclose that the granite covers “five small surfaces” totaling 57 square feet. The letter also states that the senior officials who approved the expenditures at issue “retired years ago.”

However, information obtained by the committee indicates that expenditures such as the 57 square feet of granite were approved by and upon the insistence of Assistant Director Beal, who has not retired. It is further alleged that this granite was custom cut, “very special,” “top of the line,” and “the most expensive on the market,” and that when the granite company salesperson suggested cheaper alternatives Ms. Beal replied that “cost is not a factor.” It is unclear how the USMS does not know, or cannot otherwise locate, how much it paid for such an expensive and unnecessary luxury.

AD Beal’s alleged insistence on securing the granite for the Asset Forfeiture Academy is consistent with many whistleblower accounts of a longstanding attitude of AFD leadership that the fund exists not to support law enforcement but to buy the “best of the best” for that division.

The Committee has received multiple reports, for example, that former AFD AD Eben Morales frequently traveled to Miami using AFF resources ostensibly for official government business but spent his time on personal matters. Senior managers, including AD Beal, reportedly justify lavish spending simply because the Assets Forfeiture Fund is “not appropriated money.”

Unfortunately, like the allegations of improper nepotism and quid pro quos in hiring, these allegations of waste and abuse of the fund are but a few examples of reports the Committee has received.

The use of the Assets Forfeiture Fund for purposes Congress certainly did not intend—along with what appears to be a systemic abuse of power to reward favored insiders and friends—is unacceptable. The many whistleblowers who have come forward in the last month report that they live in fear of retaliation from USMS senior management for upholding their duty to report wrongdoing. Multiple whistleblowers have alleged not only that they have experienced reprisal for speaking out, but also that senior leaders submit FOIA requests to seek information on employees who may have made protected disclosures with the purpose of using that information to retaliate against them.

The Committee’s investigation into these allegations is ongoing. As an initial matter, please provide the Committee with the following information by Thursday, May 7, 2015:

1. All USMS e-mail communications regarding the hiring of any individual with whom AD Douglas allegedly had a personal relationship for a contract position with the USMS.

2. All USMS e-mail communications regarding the hiring and transfers of the wives of William Snelson and David Sligh. Please also provide:

a. The current titles, divisions, locations, and resumes of each;

b. A list of all programs in which each has participated or managed in any way since Mr. Sligh’s wife was hired within the Tactical Operations Division, and Mr. Snelson’s wife was hired within the Judicial Security Division.

3. All USMS e-mail communications regarding the hiring of any relatives of AD Beal as interns, as well as all documentation concerning any government-funded travel or trainings in which those interns participated while employed with the USMS. Please include:

a. Any budget or funding requests related to the hiring, travel, and training of those interns, including whether the funds derived from the AFF,

b. The dates and locations of the interns’ employment, travel, and training,

c. The purpose of any travel or training in which the interns participated (for example, was the training offered for career criminal investigators?),

d. A list of all other interns who participated in government-funded travel and training from 2010 to the present.

4. A copy of all FOIA requests submitted by Kimberly Beal, or anyone on her behalf, to DOJ or any component thereof from 2011 to the present.

Should you have any questions, please contact DeLisa Lay of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

Cc:

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Probes Quid Pro Quo Hiring Allegations At The U.S. Marshals Service

MAR 19, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is exploring allegations that U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) officials hired unqualified personnel in a high-level contract position in order to receive favorable consideration for a promotion.

According to claims received by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then-Deputy Assistant Director of the Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD) Kimberly Beal allegedly influenced subordinates to waive qualification requirements in order to hire an unqualified person who was recommended for a highly-paid contract position by USMS Director Stacia Hylton.  Beal allegedly did so while under consideration for her current position as Assistant Director, which is the highest-ranking post in the division.

In a letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Grassley requested a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding the hiring as well as material on the current and former qualification requirements for the contract position in question.

Grassley’s letter follows a separate inquiry into recent allegations that AFD, under the direction of Beal, misused Asset Forfeiture Fund resources to purchase extravagant office furnishings such as custom window treatments and wall paper. The office may have also violated statutory restrictions on funds reserved for joint law enforcement operations.

Full text of the letter is below.

March 19, 2015

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable Sally Quillian Yates
Acting Deputy Attorney General
United States Department of Justice

Dear Acting Deputy Attorney General Yates:

I write with some concern regarding allegations of inappropriate hiring practices within the United States Marshals Services (USMS) Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD).  Whistleblowers with specific knowledge of the process  have alleged that the AFD improperly waived qualification requirements in order to hire Donald Lenzie as a Senior Forfeiture Financial Specialist (SFFS), a highly paid contractor position.

Information obtained by the Committee suggests that Director Stacia A. Hylton personally recommended Mr. Lenzie for this position and that Kimberly Beal, then AFD Deputy Assistant Director, influenced subordinates to waive contract qualification requirements in order to hire him.  It is further alleged that Ms. Beal violated these contracting standards in order to receive favorable consideration from Director Hylton in Ms. Beal’s effort to become the AFD Assistant Director, a position she now occupies.

This quid pro quo exchange of favors, if true, would raise serious doubts about the operational practices of the USMS AFD under Ms. Beal as well as, frankly, Ms. Hylton’s leadership of the USMS.

Accordingly, please provide the Committee with a complete written explanation of the circumstances surrounding the hiring of Mr. Lenzie no later than March 26, 2015.  Please also include in your response the following information:

1.    The resumes of all individuals who have filled the contractor position of SFFS under the USMS AFD contract with Forfeiture Support Associates (FSA).

2.    A copy of the current and all previous versions of the contract qualification requirements used to hire SFFS contractors from 2010 to the present.  Please mark each version with the date that it became effective.

Should you have questions, please contact DeLisa Lay of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

Cc:

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General

Senate Judiciary Digs Deeper Into Quid Pro Quo Allegations At The U.S. Marshals Service

APR 7, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is seeking more details surrounding the decision to hire a U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) contractor after the Justice Department failed to dispel concerns over claims of a quid pro quo agreement.

In March, Grassley asked the Justice Department about whistleblower claims that then Deputy Assistant Director Kimberly Beal waived qualification requirements for a highly-paid contractor position in order to hire an unqualified individual recommended by USMS Director Stacia Hylton. Beal did so while under consideration for a promotion by Hylton.  Although a recent Justice Department response to this letter attempted to dispel the allegations, further details have come to light that require an explanation.

While the Justice Department asserted that the contractor was ultimately hired for a lower level position for which he was better suited, information obtained by the committee suggests that no opening or need existed for that position, and that Beal was one of four individuals selected for what was supposed to be an impartial panel to assess the contractor’s qualifications. She also allegedly traveled to Boston at government expense to interview the contractor—a practice that is unusual in the recruitment and hiring of USMS contractors. Further, the committee has received allegations that the position Beal was seeking at the time of the contractor’s hiring was reclassified to meet her qualifications.

Grassley also noted that, despite the Justice Department’s assurance that no exchange of favors occurred, the committee has been informed that USMS has not yet completed its internal review of issues raised in the initial letter. This review includes requests for USMS employee email correspondence and other information relating to the contractor’s hire. The ongoing review suggests that the department’s response to Grassley’s initial inquiry was premature.

Full text of the letter is below.

April 07, 2015

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable Sally Quillian Yates
Acting Deputy Attorney General
United States Department of Justice

Dear Acting Deputy Attorney General Yates:

On March 19, 2015, I sent a letter to your office expressing concern regarding whistleblower allegations of improper contracting practices within the Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD) of the United States Marshals Service (USMS).  Specifically, I wrote that according to information obtained by the Committee, “Director Stacia A. Hylton personally recommended Donald Lenzie for the contract position of Senior Forfeiture Financial Specialist (SFFS), and . . . Kimberly Beal, then Deputy Assistant Director of the USMS Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD), influenced subordinates to waive contract qualification requirements in order to hire him.”

First, I appreciate the timeliness of the Department’s reply of March 26, 2015, but accuracy is as important as timeliness.  Contrary to the conclusory tone of Mr. Kadzik’s letter, USMS officials informed committee staff via telephone on March 30th that the USMS is actually still in the process of conducting a more comprehensive internal review of the issues raised in my letter.  This review includes requests for USMS employee email correspondence and other information relating to the hiring of Mr. Lenzie.  Accordingly, it is unclear how the Office of Legislative Affairs could conclude that no quid pro quo occurred before USMS has gathered all the facts.

Second, the Department’s reply implies that no quid pro quo occurred because Mr. Lenzie was ultimately hired as a Forfeiture Financial Specialist (FFS) rather than a Senior Forfeiture Financial Specialist (SFFS) and because Mr. Lenzie’s hiring was subject to the impartial assessment of a four-person panel of experts.  However, documents obtained by the Committee indicate that USMS was not seeking an individual to fill an FFS role in Boston at the time Mr. Lenzie was hired, that Ms. Beal was a member of this hiring panel, and that she travelled to Boston at Government expense in order to interview Mr. Lenzie.  USMS officials also informed committee staff on March 30 that USMS employees are not so thoroughly involved in all cases in the recruitment and hiring of USMS contractors, which raises concerns regarding Ms. Beal’s substantial efforts during the hiring process.

Third, the Department notes the almost three years that passed between the hiring of Lenzie and Ms. Beal’s appointment to the Senior Executive Service to suggest that no exchange of favors took place.  But, the Committee is aware of a number of personnel actions that occurred, allegedly at the request of Director Hylton, much closer to the time of Lenzie’s hiring and which clearly benefited Ms. Beal’s candidacy for the position of Assistant Director of the AFD.  For example, the Committee has obtained evidence that Director Hylton made Ms. Beal the Acting Assistant Director of the AFD on January 25, 2012, shortly after Mr. Lenzie was hired.  It is also alleged that the Assistant Director position was reclassified from 1811 (Criminal Investigator) to 0301 (Administrator) specifically to accommodate Ms. Beal’s lack of qualifications.

To further clarify the circumstances of Mr. Lenzie’s recruitment and hiring, please provide written responses to the following questions by Wednesday, April 22, 2015:

1.    Please provide the monthly invoices from the contractor in question, Forfeiture Support Associates (FSA), for all FSA positions supporting the USMS from the period two months prior to Mr. Lenzie’s hiring through two months following the termination of his employment with FSA.

2.    Please provide all USMS employee email correspondence concerning the hiring, onboarding, and resignation of Donald Lenzie as a contract employee with FSA.

3.    Did an open position for a Forfeiture Financial Specialist (FFS) exist in or around the Boston area at the time Mr. Lenzie interviewed?

4.    How many other FFS candidates did the panel interview for the position Mr. Lenzie eventually occupied?

5.    Please provide the names and titles of the individuals who sat on the four-member panel that interviewed Mr. Lenzie.

6.    Please provide the USMS policy outlining the role of USMS officials in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring contract positions.  Please include the titles and positions of USMS officials involved in those hiring processes, as well as under what circumstances and in what capacities those officials participate in the hiring process for positions that are in fact employed by USMS contractors.

Should you have questions, please contact DeLisa Lay of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

Cc:       The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

Discrepancies In Marshals’ Explanation Of Questionable Spending Raises New Concerns

MAY 6, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called for a better explanation of certain spending practices within the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) Asset Forfeiture Division. The request follows incomplete and potentially misleading responses to questions Grassley raised in March surrounding the alleged purchase of lavish office furnishings and facilities that go unused for large parts of the year.

Some of USMS’ responses to Grassley’s inquiries do not match related material obtained by the Judiciary Committee and raise new questions about potentially wasteful spending practices. In a letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Grassley requested a better explanation for a number of concerns including the following:

•    Despite USMS’ claim that renovations to an Arlington, Va. office took place in 2009, records show that the Asset Forfeiture Division was paying to install new wallpaper, chair rails and crown molding during the 2013 government shutdown.

•    USMS’ purchase of a $22,000 conference table, which it claims was from the “lowest offeror in a competitive procurement,” is nearly 10 times the cost of the most expensive conference table in a federal procurement product list.

•    USMS claims that its training facility in Houston cost $1,780,600 and was used for 33.5 days in Fiscal Year 2014, but information obtained by the Committee shows that the facility may have actually cost $2,164,700 and was only used for 31.5 days during that same period. The multimillion-dollar facility apparently went unused for the remainder of the year, and the USMS has not provided information on the facility’s monthly rent or operation expenses.

•    USMS refuses to provide the cost of 57 square-feet of granite that whistleblowers claim was purchased without regard for price.

•    USMS claims that officials who approved these expenditures retired years ago, but it appears to the Committee that many who likely have approval authority remain employed by the agency.

•    USMS cannot certify with any confidence that it is complying with statutes governing the use of funds authorized only to reimburse state and local law enforcement officers who participate in joint operations with federal agencies.

Full text of this letter is below.

May 6, 2015

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Sally Quillian Yates
Acting Deputy Attorney General
United States Department of Justice

Dear Acting Deputy Attorney General Yates:

On March 18, 2015, I sent a letter to Director Stacia Hylton of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) inquiring into questionable spending of the Assets Forfeiture Fund by officials in the Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD).

On April 3, 2015, the USMS responded.  Like the Department’s initial response to my March 19, 2015, letter regarding allegations of hiring quid pro quos within USMS, the response to my March 18, 2015 letter is at best incomplete and potentially misleading.

This letter requests additional information based on the USMS April 3, 2015, response.

Crystal Mall 4

The April 3, 2015, response from USMS states that AFD moved its offices to Crystal Mall 4 in Arlington, Virginia in 2009, and that renovations to the space “were incorporated into the GSA build out pursuant to standard terms of the lease agreement for all interior finishing.”

This response suggests to the reader that the work and renovations occurred in 2009 when AFD moved in to Crystal Mall 4.

However, according to information obtained by the Committee, additions and modifications to the AFD space may not have been incorporated into the 2009 build out.  Specifically, documents obtained by the Committee demonstrate that the AFD awarded a contract for renovation of a large conference room in Crystal Mall 4 in August 2013.

The documents also show that AFD extended the contract performance period twice—once through October 15, 2013, and eventually to December 31, 2013.  According to these documents, contractors installed brand new wallpaper, crown molding, baseboards, and chair railing in the AFD conference room through the period of the 2013 Government shutdown.

While numerous federal Government employees stayed home without a paycheck during the budget crisis, the AFD was apparently busy redecorating its offices.

USMS also states that AFD purchased a conference table “from the lowest offeror in a competitive procurement” for $22,000, including shipping.

Federal Acquisition Regulations require that, to bypass a mandatory source requirement to purchase items like office furniture, an agency contracting officer must either obtain a waiver, or make a written determination that an item available through UNICOR is “not comparable” in terms of “price, quality, and time of delivery,” to the commercial item.    The most expensive conference table currently available on UNICOR’s product list is $2,315.

That’s approximately one-tenth the price paid by the AFD.

USMS further claims that it purchased additional window treatments or “roller shades” for $12,300 because “those initially provided in the existing office space blocked out all light when closed.”  It is unclear why blocking out light is a defect for a window treatment.   It is also unclear why, even if that were true, it required purchase of entirely new treatments, rather than simply raising, lowering, or otherwise adjusting the ones that were already there.

Asset Forfeiture Academy (AFA)

USMS stated that the AFA is co-located in Houston, Texas with the Southern District of Texas’ Asset Forfeiture Unit “for greater consolidation and efficiency.”  According to USMS, this arrangement allows “students [to] benefit from on-the-job training provided by experienced staff in both office and field settings.”

The USMS also stated that the AFA cost $1,780,600 to establish, and that the audio visual system has an annual service cost of approximately $10,700.  Finally, according to the USMS, the AFA was used for training purposes only about 33.5 days in fiscal year 2014.

Based on information obtained by the Committee and the Committee’s own review of the April 3 letter and its attachments, these explanations are incomplete and, in some cases, incorrect.

Information obtained by the Committee suggests that the total build out cost for the AFA may actually have been as high as approximately $2,164,700, about $384,100 more than the USMS figure in its April 3, 2015, letter.

Additionally, although my initial March 18 letter on this subject specifically asked USMS “how much AFD spent in total to establish” the AFA, “including rent,” the USMS failed to provide any information regarding rent at the commercially leased downtown office space in Houston.

According to whistleblower allegations, there also is no real benefit to students derived from the AFA’s location.  There allegedly is no substantive connection between the district office and the AFA, and none of the employees assigned to the district office provide instruction for AFA courses.

Based on the Committee’s review of the training agendas provided by USMS on April 3, USMS used the AFA for training purposes for only 31.5 days in fiscal year 2014, not 33.5 days.

Multiple whistleblowers also have indicated that, at the time the USMS built the AFA, the USMS maintained and used other training facilities and workspace in locations around the country, including Georgia and Arizona.

The AFA apparently remains unused approximately eleven months out of the year, and the USMS already had training space in other locations at the time it built the AFA.  Yet, the USMS justified its spending to locate the AFA in a commercially leased downtown office building in Houston by claiming “greater consolidation and efficiency.”  That justification appears weak.

Further, as I wrote in my April 23 letter, the USMS explanation of its purchase of 57 square feet of granite appears incomplete.  Multiple whistleblowers have alleged that this granite was “very special,” “top of the line,” and “the most expensive on the market.”   It is unclear why the USMS cannot disclose to the Committee how much it paid for this luxury material.  Notably, the USMS was able to provide the cost of the AFA window system, even though that system was “included in the build-out of the AFA using the standard GSA reimbursable work agreement.”   Yet the USMS claims it cannot provide the cost of the custom cut granite “because it was included in the overall contractor build out cost.”

Spending Approvals

The USMS also states in its April 3, 2015, letter that “[t]he approvals for the items raised in your [March 18, 2015] letter occurred as far back as 2008 and were compliant with the USMS’ internal controls at the time and the senior USMS officials who approved the questioned expenditures retired years ago.”

As noted above, documents obtained by the Committee demonstrate that contract awards, modifications, and justifications for at least some of the items subject to the Committee’s inquiry occurred as recently as 2013.

Multiple whistleblowers also allege that the approvals for both the Crystal Mall 4 renovations and the items designed and installed at the AFA occurred by and upon the insistence of Kimberly Beal, who has since been promoted to the permanent position of Assistant Director for the Asset Forfeiture Division.

Information obtained by the Committee also shows that AD Beal, along with touting her ability to “leverag[e] financial avenues,” takes credit for the AFA and lists it as a “key accomplishment[]” in her executive management biography.

Documents obtained by the Committee also suggest that another individual, Brett Thomas, may also have played a significant role in approving the AFA purchases.  According to publicly available information, Mr. Thomas has served as an Assistant Chief Inspector for the USMS since January 2009, around the time the USMS began receiving contractor proposals for the AFA’s design.  Mr. Thomas remains the Director of the AFA.

Further, information obtained by the Committee shows that the former Acting Associate Director for Administration, Lisa Dickinson (who now works within the USMS Office of General Counsel) served in her acting role from June 10, 2013 to February 9, 2014, when Crystal Mall 4 renovations actually took place.

According to the USMS April 3 letter, the Associate Director for Administration (ADA) is responsible for “implement[ing] additional approval safeguards for furniture and equipment expenditures across USMS headquarters functions, including AFD . . . .”

In the USMS’ own words, it appears that the ADA is ultimately responsible for the approval of at least some of the expenses that are the subject of the Committee’s inquiry.  If Ms. Beal or others within AFD did not actually approve them or have the authority to do so, it would seem that Ms. Dickinson did.

Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO)

The statute authorizing the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF) limits the use of that fund for joint law enforcement operations for the “payment of overtime salaries, travel, fuel, training, equipment, and other similar costs of State or local law enforcement officers that are incurred in a joint law enforcement operation with a Federal law enforcement agency participating in the Fund.”

Longstanding internal agency guidance on the use of JLEO funds, commonly referred to as the “Colgate Memo,” also states:  “The AFF may reimburse only those expenses authorized by the statute.”   Reading the statute and the Colgate Memo together, JLEO funds must be used to reimburse state and local law enforcement officers for costs they actually incurred while participating in a joint law enforcement operation.

According to the April 3, 2015, response from USMS, “JLEO funds are provided from the AFF to support state and local task force operations.  No JLEO funds have been used to directly support any USMS employee.”

The USMS goes on to state that it does not have “sufficient detail” to determine whether certain expenditures, known as “circuit costs,” “are attributed to federal versus state and local cases.”  USMS thus estimates that those cases account for “approximately 80%” of the total circuit costs.

According to whistleblowers, however, the USMS does have the capability to extract information from the Justice Detainee Information System (JDIS) to more accurately identify which circuit costs are attributed to federal as opposed to state and local cases.

The USMS website also states that in Fiscal Year 2014, the USMS arrested 71,092 state and local fugitives and 33,797 federal fugitives.

According to these reports, then, USMS state and local fugitive arrests accounted for 67.8% of total fugitive arrests.  This percentage is significantly lower than the 80% of costs the USMS asserts are associated with state and local cases.

The USMS also states—with more certainty than is apparently possible for circuit costs estimates—that precisely 79.4% of Commercial-Assisted Legal Research (CALR) database searches are run for state or local cases.

However, information obtained by the Committee suggests that there is no agency-wide methodology capable of reviewing database searches to determine whether they pertained to federal or state and local cases.

According to one whistleblower, who uses these databases “almost every day,” the agency has “no idea” what cases are associated with USMS employee searches.

Based on the USMS’ April 3, 2015, letter and information obtained by the Committee, it appears that the USMS cannot accurately certify with any confidence that it is in compliance with the statute or Department policy.

Even if the USMS estimates are accurate—and it is not clear that they are—the inability of the agency to track this spending with “sufficient detail” makes any oversight and accountability for the use of JLEO funds highly questionable, if not impossible.

It is also unclear from the USMS’ response that is in fact reimbursing state and local officers rather than seeking direct funding from the Department based on unverifiable estimates.  Finally, the statute and the guidance require that the JLEO funds be used to reimburse costs incurred by state and local law enforcement officers, not costs generally attributable to state and local cases.  If a federal USMS employee is running a database search, that money is supporting a federal law enforcement officer.

With respect to the District of Arizona, the USMS stated in its April 3, 2015, letter that “the USMS has transferred $26,000 of non-JLEO/AFF funds to the District of Arizona for payments under the Awards for Information funding for drug cases.”  However, the Committee has received allegations that the non-JLEO transfers nevertheless were made from AFF monies intended for costs associated with asset forfeiture operations, not with locating and apprehending “fugitives wanted for drug offenses.”  It is further alleged that AD Beal approved the transfer to “make up” for a decrease in JLEO funding to the District of Arizona in Fiscal Year 2014.

Please provide documents responsive to the following requests by May 26, 2015:

Crystal Mall 4

1.    The GSA lease agreement for Crystal Mall 4 and any subsequent amendments;

2.    Documentation, including all approvals, contracts, statements of work, and contract modifications, demonstrating when the renovations to the AD and DAD workspace and the AFD conference rooms took place and at what cost;

3.    All USMS e-mail correspondence regarding the approvals, contracts, and contract modifications for the renovations including work related to crown molding and any other “millwork, painting, staining, and wall coverings”;

4.    Written documentation of either the waiver or the determination demonstrating how items available from UNICOR are not comparable to the $22,000 conference table;

Asset Forfeiture Academy

5.    The GSA lease and work agreements related to the AFA and any modifications or amendments, including any statements of work and invoices related to the space build out;

6.    The amount that USMS pays in rent for the AFA on a monthly basis;

7.    The total operating cost for the AFA on an annual basis;

8.    The names and locations of all other training facilities used by the USMS, the dates they were established, and how often they are in use;

9.    A list of all AFA instructors, including their titles, duty station, and courses taught at the AFA since the facility opened;

10.    A record of any other uses of the AFA facility during the nearly eleven months it remains idle from training per year;

11.    The name of the contractor(s) who designed and installed the custom granite at the AFA, purchase orders and invoices showing how much the USMS paid for the materials and installation, and a copy of all other contractor submissions for granite when the material was “bid competitively and procured by GSA”;

12.    A copy of all other bid materials for the items at issue in the Committee’s March 18, 2015, letter that USMS asserts were competitively bid;

Spending Approvals

13.    All approvals for expenditures made related to each of the items at issue in the Committee’s March 18, 2015 letter;

Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO)

14.    The methodologies, in detail, used to arrive at the 80% estimate for state and local circuit costs, as well as that used to specify that 79.4% of database searches are related to state and local cases;

15.    All USMS AFF budget requests submitted to the Department from FY 2012 to the present, as well as all associated allocations signed by the Deputy Attorney General;

16.    Documentation clearly outlining the definition of “circuit costs” and what specific expenses the term “circuit costs” encompasses;

17.    From FY 2012 to the present, the total number of full-time state and local task force officers who were issued USMS credentials and the total number of Deputy U.S. Marshals;

18.    Evidence that the Department authorized the USMS to reprogram its AFF allocation such that the District of Arizona received additional funding for “Awards for Information,” an expense category subject to annual Congressional appropriations;

19.    Documentation of all transfers of funds from any AFF Forfeiture Operations Expenses category to or for the benefit of the District of Arizona in Fiscal Year 2014;

20.    Any and all e-mail communications regarding the decrease in JLEO funding to the District of Arizona in Fiscal Year 2014, and any attempts to restore or increase funding to offset that decrease in whole or in part.

Should you have any questions, please contact DeLisa Lay of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

cc:

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice

Justice Department Calls For Investigation Of Marshals Service Following Senate Probe

MAY 7, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is requesting an independent investigation of the U.S. Marshals Service following a series of concerns raised by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. News of the investigation comes just two days after Grassley spoke on the Senate floor about whistleblower allegations of improper hiring practices and spending in the Marshals Service’s Asset Forfeiture Division.

“It’s good to see the Justice Department taking seriously the numerous whistleblower claims of improper behavior and use of resources by a federal agency that is supposed to enforce our laws.  These claims by brave agency whistleblowers point to nothing less than a systemic culture of waste and abuse by agency officials, and we need to get to the bottom of this.  I will continue to raise whistleblower concerns as I receive them, and will help in this investigation wherever appropriate,” Grassley said.

In a letter to Grassley today, the Justice Department stated, “In light of the extensive and important concerns raised in your letters and by your staff … the Department has referred these allegations for an independent investigation by the Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).” The Department also pledged to continue to collect and review information to respond to Grassley’s inquiries.

Grassley sent letters to the Marshals Service Director on March 18 regarding alleged misuse of the Asset Forfeiture Fund, including claims that officials used the Fund to purchase extravagant office furnishings.  Earlier this week, Grassley called on the Marshals Service to explain discrepancies in its response to these allegations.

Grassley also sent a letter to DOJ on March 19 relating to allegations of an inappropriate exchange of favors that led to the hiring of a highly-paid yet unqualified contractor and a promotion for a Marshals Service official.  Grassley followed up on his letter regarding the alleged hiring quid pro quo on April 7, after the Justice Department failed to dispel these concerns. The Justice Department later stated on April 17 that it may have provided the Committee with incomplete or inaccurate information and is continuing its investigations. In this letter, the Justice Department supplied email records supporting the claims of a quid pro quo.

These exchanges have prompted other whistleblowers to come forward to raise new concerns and corroborate some of the earlier allegations.

Whistleblowers: Senior Marshals Service Employees Used Government Resources For Personal Gain

JUN 10, 2015 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUL 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – 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.

Full text of the letter is available below.

June 10, 2015

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Sally Quillian Yates
Deputy Attorney General
United States Department of Justice

Dear Deputy Attorney General Yates:

This letter follows a series of inquiries made by the Committee regarding allegations received by dozens of whistleblowers regarding misconduct at the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Committee appreciates the Department’s intent to cooperate with the Committee’s continuing inquiry.  The Committee is also coordinating its inquiry in parallel with the Office of Inspector General and expects timely, good faith responses to document and witness interview requests, as has already been discussed with Department staff.

Beyond the many allegations that appear to outline a pattern of improper hiring practices throughout the Marshals Service,  this letter requests information regarding additional allegations of mismanagement and misuse of government resources, including the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF).

Misuse of Government Funds for Private Gain

The Committee has received allegations from multiple whistleblowers with direct knowledge that senior executives misused government resources for their personal benefit.

According to whistleblowers, while in the process of applying for the position of Assistant Director (AD) of the Asset Forfeiture Division, then-Acting AD Eben Morales directed a government contractor to draft a portion of Morales’ application for the permanent AD position.  Each application for a Senior Executive Service (SES) position—of which the AD position is one—requires applicants to submit Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) statements.   The USMS contractor allegedly billed time spent drafting Morales’ ECQs to the government.   Mr. Morales then allegedly directed a different government contractor to make corrections to those ECQs.  That contractor allegedly also billed the time to the USMS under that contract.

Additionally, multiple whistleblowers allege that current AD of AFD Kimberly Beal directed Jennifer Crane and Pam Bass, her government employee subordinates, to draft Ms. Beal’s ECQs so that Beal could apply for the permanent SES position that she currently occupies.

The AD of the Judicial Security Division, Noelle Douglas, also allegedly directed a government employee subordinate to draft her ECQs for her current permanent SES position.

According to at least one publicly available website, federal government employees may pay several thousand dollars of their own funds for private contractors to spend up to two weeks drafting ECQs and other materials for Senior Executive Service (SES) application packages.   These allegations, if true, may amount to serious ethics violations  and thousands of dollars in contract fraud.

Assets Forfeiture Fund and Travel

The Committee also has received allegations from multiple whistleblowers that the USMS AFD uses AFF money to pay for extensive and often unnecessary travel expenses.  For example, as I wrote in my April 23, 2015, letter to the Department, multiple whistleblowers have alleged that former AD for AFD Eben Morales, now AD of the Prisoner Operations Division, frequently traveled to Miami on business but spent much of his time on personal matters.

The AFF also allegedly pays for the travel of certain USMS employees to AFD headquarters in Arlington, VA to participate in an “Asset Forfeiture Leadership Council,” according to multiple whistleblowers.  Those council meetings allegedly are “a waste of time” that produce not “one positive benefit” and “never accomplish anything.”  Nevertheless, AFF monies pay for these employees to fly across the country twice a year.

Assets Forfeiture Fund Salaries for Non-Asset Forfeiture Work

Information obtained by the Committee also strongly suggests that the USMS is using AFF money not only to pay for luxurious decor, but also to fund regular Marshals Service activities that have nothing to do with asset forfeiture.

Specifically, information obtained by the Committee demonstrates that the AFD uses the AFF to fully fund the salaries and benefits of several non-AFD personnel, including within the USMS Office of General Counsel.  However, it is alleged that at least some of those personnel are not fully engaged in work related to asset forfeiture.

It is not clear that the USMS can demonstrate with any degree of accuracy that non asset forfeiture work is precisely offset by asset forfeiture work performed by employees whose salaries and benefits are not paid out of the AFF.  For example, previously, the USMS allegedly used a tracking system for all district administrative USMS employees to bill time to specific project codes.  Under that system, every hour an employee worked on asset forfeiture-related matters would be billed to the AFF, while the hours not spent on asset forfeiture-related matters would be billed to a different source.

On January, 9, 2013, then-Acting Assistant Director for AFD Kimberly Beal sent a memorandum to the U.S. Marshals’ district offices informing them that USMS had “received authority for Asset Forfeiture (AF) positions to be fully billed to the AFF.”  Certain employees who previously billed their time to asset forfeiture could continue doing asset forfeiture work “as a collateral duty.”  And employees fully funded in an “AF position” could also continue to perform non-AF work as long as they “complete[d] all AF responsibilities” and “their other [non-AF] duties have been deemed appropriate by District Management.”  It is not clear from the memorandum exactly how AFD planned to ensure that the true and accurate amount of AFF money was paid to support the amount of AF work actually performed by the USMS.

The agency’s apparent failure to accurately track and measure the use of AFF monies to support AF work significantly impairs oversight and accountability for USMS’ use of the fund.  This type of lax accounting encourages and perpetuates a culture of impunity for waste and mismanagement.

Please provide all documents responsive to the following requests by June 24, 2015:

1.    All records relating to communications regarding the drafting of ECQs on behalf of Eben Morales, Kimberly Beal, and Noelle Douglas, by or with the assistance of any government employee or contractor.

2.    All documentation from FY 2010 to the present for the travel expenses of the following individuals, including the documentation of the purpose of and funding source for that travel:

a.    Prisoner Operations Division Assistant Director Eben Morales;
b.    Asset Forfeiture Leadership Council Chairman and U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona David Gonzalez;

3.    A list of all USMS employees and contractors, by name and title, that are funded from AFF resources but that are not specifically assigned to AFD or appearing within the AFD organizational chart; and

4.    A detailed methodology demonstrating precisely how the AFD ensures that all positions fully funded by the AFF perform work exclusively on asset forfeiture matters, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 524(c).

Should you have any questions, please contact DeLisa Lay of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

cc:

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice

The Honorable Carolyn N. Lerner
Special Counsel
U.S. Office of Special Counsel

The Senate Judiciary Committee Confirms It Is an Integral Part of the Lyin’ Judiciary

Remember their names; Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, Feinstein, Graham and Kennedy

Murder for Hire Waco Attorney Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Waco attorney Chelsea Tijerina, 34, who was under indictment in an alleged murder-for-hire plot that targeted her ex-husband, has died.

Judge David Hittner Judgments are Not Vindictive nor Unconstitutional According to a 2020 Opinion by the Fifth Circuit

In 1992, a Fifth Circuit judge called out Senior United States District Court Judge David Hittners sentencing as vindictive and unconstitutional. Move on 18 yrs later and while a judicial complaint against David Hittner (seeking impeachment) is percolating at the 5th Cir., they affirm his outrageous sentence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Waste, Fraud and Nepotism Investigation of US Marshals. Texas Tops the Charts
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