Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is demanding information about whether the U.S Marshals Service abused asset forfeiture laws.
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “is seeking answers about the wasteful and potentially unlawful spending by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) of money recovered from criminal investigations or civil asset forfeitures,” according to a news release by his office.
“He is also inquiring about misleading representations provided to Congress regarding that spending based on the findings of a review conducted by the Committee’s Oversight and Investigations staff.”
Committee investigators found a “history of excessive and wasteful spending” of the Assets Forfeiture Fund. The USMS manages assets seized through the Asset Forfeiture Program.
For example, the USMS used asset funds “to outfit a facility in Texas with luxury furnishings like high-end granite countertops and expensive custom artwork,” according to investigators. “That facility is scheduled to be used only 52 days in 2017 and was used only 32 days in 2014.”
The Committee also found accounting irregularities, such as paying salaries, vacation and benefits for work unrelated to asset forfeiture, “in such a way that it apparently produced a ‘net gain’ of $1.3 million to the USMS.”
Grassley also blasted the USMS for providing incorrect information to the Judiciary Committee. “For example, the USMS underreported to the Committee annual expenditures on the aforementioned Texas facility by more than $93,000.”