Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

VII. Conclusion

The allegations of racist conduct contained in the initial media accounts and Congressional testimony about the Roundup were truly shocking. If these allegations were true and if they had been committed by DOJ law enforcement officers, we would be confronted with very serious questions about the officers' fitness to serve, their ability to discharge their law enforcement duties, and their right to wear a Federal badge. Our principal purpose in conducting this investigation was to determine whether DOJ employees had committed such acts and consequently should be disciplined. To that end, we conducted an extensive investigation with the aim of getting to the truth about the Roundups generally and the conduct of DOJ employees who attended them.

Two significant truths emerged as a result of this investigation. First, the Roundups in later years had changed significantly from the earlier, more private Roundups. These changes were, on the whole, for the worse. Second, the experiences of the attendees, even those at the same Roundup, varied widely because of the size of the campground; the different activities offered, including many activities that were conducted away from the campground altogether; the different interests of the various attendees; and the varying lengths of time spent at the Roundup by different participants. These two facts made it clear that condemning participants with a broad brush was unfair and that individual assessments had to be made. Attendees had to be evaluated by identifying the specific years they attended, measuring their own conduct in those years, and determining the state of their knowledge about other participants' conduct.

Thus, it was critical that a thorough investigation of each year of the Roundup be conducted so that individual judgments could be made for each DOJ participant. Although we found that in certain years egregious acts of racism occurred, in most cases we concluded that the DOJ employees in attendance those years were either unaware of such conduct or had learned that the organizers had taken action to terminate it. Thus, except for the two individuals described above, we found no basis to recommend discipline.

Even after we determined that the allegations were in some instances exaggerated, unsupported by any evidence, or simply false, and that only a small group of Department employees had ever attended any Roundups, our task was not complete. We expended extra effort in order to take the report beyond simply a conclusion that "It wasn't one of ours." While a number of other law enforcement agencies, federal and local, conducted investigations of their individual employees, we felt an obligation to review the entire affair because these allegations had a large potential impact on the administration of the federal criminal justice system and the character and reputation of federal law enforcement officers -- a particular responsibility of the Department of Justice. Moreover, we believe that the expanded investigation added credibility and weight to the results we have reported.

Although we did not find that all of the allegations made regarding the Roundup were true, it in fact had been marred by a number of serious and disturbing racist incidents over the years. These incidents helped create and perpetuate a climate that was not welcoming towards African Americans or women. In addition to these specific episodes of intolerance we discovered the degeneration of the Roundup over the years from an innocuous open-air camping and recreational outing to a gathering of large numbers of the drunk and immature. None of this brings credit to those who participated.

This investigation has highlighted for all Department of Justice employees, particularly those in law enforcement, that even when they are not at work they remain employees of the Department of Justice. Thus, their conduct, good and bad, is a reflection on the Department of Justice as well as themselves. Furthermore, the activities in which they participate and the persons with whom they choose to associate also reflect upon the Department. Therefore, they have a responsibility to ensure that their choices are consistent with the Department's mission and reflect favorably upon themselves and their agency.

Michael R. Bromwich
Inspector General

Barbara A. Grewe
Special Investigative Counsel