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.