Report of Investigation Concerning Alleged Mismanagement and Misconduct by Carl J. Truscott, Former Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Special Report
October 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Chapter One:

This report describes the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Oversight and Review Division, into allegations that Carl J. Truscott, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), mismanaged government funds, committed travel abuse, engaged in improper hiring practices, and created a hostile work environment. The source of the allegations was an anonymous letter dated January 20, 2006, addressed to Inspector General Glenn A. Fine and United States Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch.

The anonymous complaint alleged that Truscott had engaged in “egregious acts of gross mismanagement of public funds and failures of leadership.” Specifically, the complaint alleged that Truscott had mismanaged appropriated funds by excessive use of his Executive Protection Branch security detail; by incurring cost overruns in connection with an ATF reception at a law enforcement conference; and by making unnecessary design changes to ATF’s new Headquarters building project. The complaint also alleged several other inappropriate or wasteful expenditures, including improperly using the ATF representation fund to pay for the meals of individuals having no connection to ATF’s mission, dedicating funds to furnish and equip field division training rooms and gyms after unnecessary expansions, and ordering the unnecessary construction of a garage to house a National Response Team truck.

In addition, the complaint alleged that Truscott committed travel abuse in connection with trips to London, New York City, Boston, and Ottawa. The complaint also alleged that he improperly hired an unqualified former U.S. Secret Service colleague whom he subsequently awarded with a bonus and pay raise. Finally, the complaint alleged that Truscott created a hostile work environment for two Administrative Assistants by causing them to prepare for and serve lunches to him and his guests.

During our investigation, two additional issues surfaced which we also reviewed - that Truscott exercised poor judgment in pursuing an aggressive hiring policy against the advice of senior ATF management officials, and that Truscott committed misconduct by directing ATF staff to assist his nephew in producing a video about ATF for a high school project. In addition to the specific allegations described above, the investigation also considered the more general concerns expressed to the OIG by witnesses regarding Truscott’s approach to management and leadership.

The OIG initiated its investigation on February 1, 2006. As part of our inquiry, we interviewed Director Truscott, ATF Deputy Director Edgar Domenech, the ATF Assistant Directors,1 senior budget and management officials, the New Building Project Manager, several Special Agents in Charge (SAC), an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC), Special Agents, various Branch Chiefs, and other ATF employees with knowledge concerning the allegations. We also reviewed numerous documents and other materials, including budget proposals and projections, impact statements, hiring data, travel vouchers, new Headquarters design plans, e-mails, correspondence, presentation materials, photographs, and a video.

Truscott reviewed a draft of this report and responded in writing by a letter dated September 25, 2006. The letter, without attachments, is included in the report as Appendix A (the Truscott Letter). In addition, the OIG met with Truscott and his counsel on September 26, 2006 (the OIG/Truscott meeting). We refer to both the Truscott Letter and the OIG/Truscott meeting, where appropriate, throughout this report. We also made minor modifications in the report, where appropriate, based upon some of his comments. However, the OIG found no basis to change any of its findings as a result of Truscott’s comments.2

This report summarizes the results of our investigation. Chapter Two provides brief background information about Truscott and ATF. Chapter Three sets forth the evidence we discovered relevant to each allegation and issue, our analysis, and our findings. Chapter Four contains our conclusions.

Before addressing each of the allegations, we provide a brief description of Truscott’s background and the mission of the ATF.

  1. We interviewed all but one Assistant Director holding office during the relevant time period. We did not interview the Assistant Director for the Office of Management because she retired from the ATF prior to the start of the investigation. However, we did interview other senior officials in that directorate, including the ATF’s Budget Officer.

  2. While we do not separately respond in this report to each of Truscott’s comments, we believe it is important to note that the Truscott Letter incorrectly states that the OIG found no “administrative misconduct” during the investigation. As discussed in Chapter Three, Section IV of this report (Assistance in Nephew’s High School Project), the OIG found that Truscott violated several ethics regulations, violations we clearly would define as misconduct.

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