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DOJ OIG Releases Report on Inappropriate Hiring Practices at the United States Marshals Service and Related Matters

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining allegations relating to inappropriate hiring practices at the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) involving senior level officials. The allegations were described in letters sent to the DOJ from Senator Charles E. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, about information the Committee had received from whistleblowers.

The allegations included that former USMS Director Stacia Hylton recommended an applicant for a contractor position with the USMS’s Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD), and that in response then-Deputy Assistant Director of the AFD Kimberly Beal influenced subordinates to waive contract qualification requirements in order to hire the applicant. Beal allegedly took this action in order to receive favorable treatment from Hylton in Beal’s effort to become an Assistant Director. The allegations also included the claim that two USMS officials each hired the other’s spouse into his division as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigated these allegations and several related issues, and found:

  • Hylton violated the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Standards of Ethical Conduct) when she took actions that amounted to a recommendation of the applicant for the contractor position.
  • Beal violated the Standards of Ethical Conduct when she took actions in response to Hylton’s recommendation to manipulate the hiring process to benefit the applicant.
  • Then-Assistant Director of the Tactical Operations Division William Snelson committed prohibited personnel actions and violated the Standards of Ethical Conduct when he took a series of steps to improve the chances that the spouse of then-Chief of the Office of Protective Operations in the Judicial Security Division was hired into the USMS.
  • A DOJ letter to Senator Grassley responding to some of the hiring allegations contained inaccurate information because the USMS relied on an inadequate and flawed process to gather the information used to draft the response, and because the individuals primarily responsible for gathering and providing the information – including Hylton and Beal – failed to exercise reasonable care in investigating the allegations.

The OIG did not substantiate the allegation that Hylton promoted Beal to Assistant Director in exchange for Beal’s efforts on behalf of Hylton’s recommended applicant. Nor did the OIG substantiate the allegation that Snelson and the Chief of the Office of Protective Operations each hired the other’s spouse as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.

The OIG referred its findings to the Department and the USMS for appropriate action.

Please note that today’s report uses pseudonyms to protect the privacy of certain individuals. In addition, a footnote in the report is redacted for privacy reasons.

Report: Today’s report is available on the OIG’s website at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/o1805.pdf.

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