More scandal for the embattled law enforcement agency.
U.S. Marshals Director Stacia Hylton said that allegations of improper hiring and misuse of funds in her agency had nothing to do with her resignation Tuesday, but the day after she announced that resignation more allegations poured in from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.
Grassley sent a letter Wednesday to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates inquiring about additional allegations that senior executives misused funds in the Asset Forfeiture Fund for private gain.
Whistleblowers allege that three senior executives needed help with job applications so they enlisted government contractors and government employees to draft the applications. Then, the executives told the contractors charge the government for the time.
“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,” Grassley said in the letter. “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.”
Allegations also came in that the AFF money, which by law is required to be used only for asset forfeiture activities, is actually being used to fund employees who devote a majority of their time to other work.
“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,” Grassley said in the letter. “This type of lax accounting encourages and perpetuates a culture of impunity for waste and mismanagement.”
These claims come after a series of allegations that AFF money was used to purchase extravagant office furniture and that Hylton engaged in nepotism and quid pro quo hiring practices.
“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,” Grassley said in the letter.
Hylton has said her resignation was planned and not related to the allegations.
The dedicated men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service are great patriots who I have had the honor of working with, past and present,” Hylton said in a statement announcing her resignation.
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