The US Marshals’ $800,000 Trinkets

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The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report [pdf] today finding that the investigative operations division (IOD) of the U.S. Marshal Service’s spent nearly $800,000 on “swag” from 2005 to 2010. The “trinkets” included, among other things, commemorative coins, silk ties, lambs wool blankets and crystal statues. The IG finds:

These expenditures were excessive and, in some instances, in contravention of Department Policies and Government Accountability Office (GAO) decisions and guidance. Furthermore, IOD’s spending on promotional items increased by 975 percent during the 6-year period examined by the OIG and vastly outpaced the growth of the USMS’s appropriation during the same period. As an illustration of some of the IOD’s spending, 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.

DoJ implemented controls in 2011 after an anonymous tip. See the full report here.