The U.S. Marshals Service spent too much money buying promotional gee-gaws, a new audit by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General finds.
The 104-page audit, including an agency response, concludes that the agency's Investigative Operations Division "spent at least $793,118 on promotional items during fiscal years 2005 to 2010 and that these expenditures were excessive..."
For instance, the auditors noted:
"We found that in six years the IOD branches spent $155,081 on USMS challenge coins, $11,338 on neckties and silk scarves bearing the USMS seal, $13,605 on USMS-themed Christmas ornaments, $16,084 on USMS-themed blankets and throws, and $36,596 on USMS lapel pins."
The highly illuminating report was prompted by a whistleblower complaint filed in October 2010, which asserted that the agency was engaged in “excess end of year funding on ‘swag.’" This included, the whistleblower asserted, "the purchase of approximately 400-500 silk ties with the USMS seal and star outlined within the pattern, approximately 200 hand embroidered pillows, and costly retirement gifts for senior managers."
U.S. Marshals Service officials say, in the agency's formal response, that new policies and practices put in place since 2011 have cracked down on the excess swag.