Justice IG rules on former ATFE money waste
The Justice Inspector General has issued the report (pdf) on fiscal misconduct by former ATFE director Carl Truscott.
It's a long document, but juicy. They find that he spent massive sums of money to line his office with wood paneling and to improve the HQ gym, at a time when the agency was so short of cash that agents were using outdated bullet-resistant vests. A team was assigned to pick just the right wood and design. He wanted built-in bookcases, custom milling, and even wanted his pantry wood paneled, and a wood floor to match that of a vice presidential office. The millwork alone would have cost a quarter million, and his floor $62,000. He planned another $100,000 for gym improvements.
And that he hired on agents knowing he would have no budget to pay them.
When they renovated the firearms licensing center, he directed that it have a gym, too.
When his nephew wanted to do a high school video on the ATFE, he directed that various offices assist with research, and provide tours, and he himself delivered the nephew's freedom of info act requests to the office handling that (hint, hint). Substantial agency time was spent ensuring that the nephew got a good grade.
He also created an agency Executive Protection Branch, so that he could have bodyguards. For a time they even stayed with him when he worked out in the gym, until he realized there were several of them working out at the same time as he did, anyway. They escorted him on trips, including his commute to HQ. The new office had a chief and four bodyguard agents, plus three assigned autos. The bodyguards served as his drivers during his trips to the office and back, He went out of his way to keep them inconspicuous when he visited the Hill. They drafted a formal protocol for his visits to field offices. When he did so, an advance agent went to the location a day ahead of him to make sure everything was proper for his reception. Two more agents went with him to the airport. One handled the car and the other went inside to get his boarding pass and make sure he got special treatment in boarding the plane, since he hated waiting. A bodyguard said escorting him thru crowds was like the parting of the seas, and people asked who this important official might be. Sometimes on arrival 3-4 cars escorted him, because they were needed to "secure lanes" for his car (apparently they used emergency lights to ensure he got thru traffic quickly). He was also assigned a medic on trips as an escort, just in case he had a medical problem. The medic carried a defib unit, several decontamination suits, etc.
When he went overseas, a squad of 3-4 accompanied him, and stayed at $300-400 a night hotels.
When he had lunch with friends, two female agents were instructed to function as waitresses. At the 2005 International Assn of Chiefs of Police meeting, he had two agency photographers assigned to tail him constantly and take photos.
He hired cronies, and kicked up their job evaluations over what their supervisors had given them.
Conclusion is that since he has resigned, there is nothing to be done.
Note the resignation -- that of course means IG was free to go to town on him. However much might be done by his successors, well, we may never know. But this guy apparently wanted to live like a king, or at least a duke, to have an office and an escort worthy of a president or VP, etc. Your tax dollars at work.