Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2008 – March 31, 2009
Office of the Inspector General

Other Department Components

Civil Rights Division

Reports Issued

Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions

The OIG and OPR jointly investigated allegations that Bradley Schlozman, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General (AAG) and Acting AAG for the Civil Rights Division, inappropriately considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Division.

We concluded that Schlozman violated federal law (Civil Service Reform Act) and Department policy, both of which prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political affiliations, and committed misconduct. Moreover, our report concluded that Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the Committee. We also found that senior managers in the Civil Rights Division failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices.

Our review determined that:

While testifying under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Schlozman responded to questions about whether he ever violated the policy against considering political and ideological affiliations in the hiring of career Department employees by stating that he did not. Schlozman also responded “no” to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s written question, “Was your decision to order or suggest the transfer of any attorney out of the Appellate Section based, in whole or in part, on an intent to fill the position with an attorney who would adopt more conservative views?” We believe, based on our investigation, that both of these responses were false.

Schlozman resigned from the Department in August 2007. In March 2008, we referred the results of our investigation to the Department for consideration of prosecution of Schlozman for false statements. The Department assigned the matter to the USAO for the District of Columbia. On January 9, 2009, the USAO declined criminal prosecution, and we issued our report on January 13, 2009.

U.S. Attorneys’ Offices

Reports Issued

USAO Resource Management

The OIG’s Audit Division examined the allocation of personnel resources among USAOs and among the criminal and civil areas federal prosecutors have emphasized over the past 5 years. We found that funding and authorized full time positions for USAOs increased during our 5 year review period, but USAOs experienced a significant gap between allocated attorney positions and the number of attorneys that they were actually utilizing. EOUSA attributed this gap to rising expenses and budget constraints. Further, we found that the average number of cases handled per USAO attorney increased from FYs 2003 to 2007.

We reported several weaknesses in the process used by EOUSA and USAOs to allocate attorney resources. Specifically, EOUSA does not have reliable and specific data to make fully informed resource allocation decisions and to use in reporting statistical data to the Department and Congress. Moreover, EOUSA has not developed an objectively sound statistical model to determine the optimal staffing levels for USAOs and has had difficulty reallocating existing resources between offices.

In our examination of the number and types of cases handled by USAOs, we found that USAOs overall used fewer attorney resources on counterterrorism matters than were funded by Congress for this purpose. EOUSA officials said this underutilization was partially caused by investigative agencies providing fewer terrorism-related matters to USAOs. By contrast, USAOs expended more attorney resources than allocated in other crime areas, such as health care fraud and organized drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.

In addition, our review determined that USAOs filed for prosecution in approximately half of the 554,675 criminal matters referred between FYs 2003 and 2007 and declined 13 percent of the total matters referred. The information contained in EOUSA’s national casework database indicated that the remaining matters referred during this time period were still pending a decision whether to prosecute, including 54,127 criminal matters that were shown in a pending status for at least 3 years. However, our audit of a limited sample of 50 matters that were listed as pending in the database showed that 56 percent of the matters were no longer pending, meaning the database had not been updated to reflect the change in status.

We concluded that EOUSA does not routinely examine the utilization of attorneys within USAOs, nor does it regularly perform an assessment of each USAO’s casework within prosecutorial areas. While EOUSA’s stated policy is to conduct USAO evaluations every 3 years, including utilization and casework assessments, these evaluations only were occurring on a 4-to-5 year basis during the time period of our review.

The OIG report included 10 recommendations to assist EOUSA in its resource planning and allocation decisions, as well as in overseeing the operations of USAOs. EOUSA agreed with our recommendations.

Criminal Division

Reports Issued

Equitable Sharing Audits

Under the Department’s Forfeiture Program, state and local law enforcement agencies receive equitable sharing assets when participating directly with the Department’s law enforcement components in joint investigations that lead to the seizure or forfeiture of cash and property. To be eligible to receive equitable sharing proceeds, law enforcement agencies must submit a request within 60 days of an asset seizure.

During this reporting period, the OIG’s Audit Division audited the Camden County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office’s use of equitable sharing revenues. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $1.4 million in equitable sharing revenues from FYs 2005 through 2008 to support its law enforcement operations. Our audit found that the Sheriff’s Office complied with equitable sharing requirements pertaining to accounting for equitable sharing receipts, use of equitably shared property, interest earned on equitable sharing funds, and non-supplanting requirements. However, we found that the Sheriff’s Office did not comply with other requirements pertaining to Federal Equitable Sharing Agreements, Annual Certification Reports, use of equitable sharing revenues, and record keeping. As a result, we identified $663,659 in questioned costs, of which $200,937 were unsupported. Subsequent to the issuance of our final report, the Criminal Division agreed to correct each of the deficiencies we identified.


« Previous Table of Contents Next »