U.S. Marshals Under Fire for Spending Nearly $800,000 on 'Swag'
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the U.S. Marshals department has spent $793,118 on promotional products from 2005 to 2010, according to a recent Inspector General report.
The report details the specific items that were purchased, as well as the dollar amount and the purpose for which they were used. It mentions the following items in the introduction of its report:
"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."
*IOD-The Investigative Operations Division of the United States Marshals Service (USMS)
The office of the Inspector General calls the purchases "excessive," and cited a spending growth of 975 percent. From the report:
"We found that the IOD spent at least $793,118 on promotional items during fiscal years 2005 to 2010 and that 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."
The full report is available as a PDF at http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/2013/s1311.pdf.
The investigation was initiated by an anonymous tip that the office had spent its excess end-of-year funds on promotional products.
This is not the first time a government organization has gotten into trouble for overspending on promotional products. Last year, the General Services Administration (GSA) spent over $400,000 on promotional products, touching off considerable press and public backlash.
What do you think? Did the Marshals overspend, or is this another instance of promotional products being made example of? Let us know in the comment field below.