The U.S. Marshals Service suffers from “a culture of mismanagement, reckless spending, favoritism, and a general lack of accountability,” the Senate Judiciary Committee has reported following a years-long investigation of the agency that it said included information from more than 100 current and former employees.
Senior officials “appear to act with impunity while lower level employees are held to a stringent standard” resulting in a “demoralizing effect on the brave men and women of the Marshals Service, and thus tends to undermine the public’s trust in America’s oldest law enforcement agency,” it says.
Issues included spending for items ranging from a $22,000 conference table to “opening a costly but rarely used training facility”; alleged violations of hiring and ethics rules and complaints of harassment that were substantiated by inspector general investigations; and actions that “directly put its employees’ lives at risk” including failure to “properly plan for, and manage the replacement of, body armor units used by operational personnel.”
The committee further said it received complaints of retaliation from more than 20 whistleblowers by management through steps such as using the FOIA to seek information on employees making disclosures, making “trumped up misconduct charges to put pressure on employees to withdraw complaints,” and threatening employees for speaking to outside investigators.