Semiannual Report to Congress
April 1, 2006-September 30, 2006
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Attorneys serve as the federal government’s principal criminal and civil litigators and conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. Under the direction of the Attorney General, 93 U.S. Attorneys are stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. More than 11,700 employees work in those offices and in the EOUSA.
In June 2006, the OIG’s Oversight and Review Division issued its report regarding allegations raised by Frederick Black, the former interim U.S. attorney for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Black alleged that he was replaced as the interim U.S. Attorney because he called for an investigation of Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff and because he supported applying federal immigration law to the Mariana Islands, a position Abramoff opposed.
Our investigation found that another person, Leonardo Rapadas, had already been chosen as the nominee for the U.S. Attorney’s position in Guam pursuant to the normal selection process well before Abramoff tried to become involved in the process. We concluded that Abramoff played no role in the selection of Rapadas. However, when informed of the White House’s decision to select Rapadas, Abramoff attempted to take credit with his Guam contacts for the selection, even though Abramoff had played no role in it.
Our report describes the selection process for the Guam U.S. Attorney position and the timing of key events in the process. We concluded that Black’s call for an investigation of Abramoff was not related to his removal as interim U.S. Attorney, and that Abramoff did not have any influence on Rapadas’s nomination. Moreover, we found that the Department offered to provide support for any investigation by Black’s office regarding Abramoff, but Black acknowledged that he placed any such investigation on the “back burner” because of other ongoing investigations into alleged political corruption in Guam.
We also determined that Black’s support for a recommendation contained in a May 2002 internal Department security report advocating the application of federal immigration law to the Northern Mariana Islands did not affect the appointment of Rapadas because he had been selected as the U.S. Attorney nominee 2 months prior to the issuance of the report. In addition, we found no evidence suggesting that those involved in the selection of Rapadas were focused on this immigration issue.
Finally, the OIG report concluded that the evidence did not support a series of other allegations raised by Black, including that Rapadas’s background investigation was insufficient or that the Guam USAO had abandoned public corruption investigations.
Critical Incident Response Plans
The OIG is conducting a follow-up review examining the progress made by USAOs with respect to improving their critical incident response plans in response to a December 2003 OIG review. The review also will assess whether the revised plans and accompanying policies provide sufficient preparation and guidance for the USAOs in critical incidents.
The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 granted the U.S. Attorney General the authority to share federally forfeited assets with cooperating local law enforcement agencies. The purpose of the Department’s Forfeiture Program is to deter crime by depriving criminals the profits and proceeds of illegal activities while enhancing cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
State and local law enforcement agencies receive equitable sharing assets when participating directly with Department law enforcement components in joint investigations that lead to the seizure or forfeiture of cash and property. To be eligible to receive equitable sharing proceeds, law enforcement agencies must submit a sharing request within 60 days of an asset seizure. The amount of seized assets the USMS shares with agencies is generally calculated as a percentage of agency time spent participating in the investigation leading to an asset forfeiture.
During this reporting period, we audited the Baltimore County, Maryland, Police Department (BCPD) to assess whether equitable sharing assets received were accounted for properly and used for allowable purposes as defined by the applicable regulations and guidelines. We determined that equitable sharing funds enabled the BCPD to expand the use and mobility of its air and marine units, enhance its forensics laboratory operations, and provide additional communication capability via more mobile telephones and computer equipment upgrades. However, we found the BCPD could not provide adequate supporting documentation for expenditures totaling $100,173, and we questioned costs of $302,685. We developed 11 recommendations to remedy the questioned costs, require the BCPD to strengthen its procedures over the receipt and deposit of equitable sharing funds, and implement a policy of not projecting equitable sharing receipts for budget purposes.
The following is an example of a case that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
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