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.
A signed copy of the letter is available here. 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.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Office of the Inspector General