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Joint FBI and Justice Investigation of Alleged Misconduct by Senior FBI Personnel in 1997 and Our Queries About the Possibility of Similar Misconduct in 2001

GAO-02-189R: Published: Dec 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 2002.

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Donald G. Fulwider
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This letter responds to allegations of improper conduct by senior Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) personnel in connection with an October 1997 retirement dinner for former FBI Assistant Director Larry Potts. The allegations asserted that a conference was scheduled at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, to provide a reason for senior FBI personnel to travel to Mr. Potts' retirement dinner in Arlington, Virginia, at government expense. GAO determined that the October 1997 FBI investigation of the alleged improper scheduling of a training conference was thorough. FBI and Justice Department investigators reviewed the actions of eight FBI Senior Executive Service (SES) employees. The FBI's Deputy Director issued letters of censure to three of the eight. Two individuals retired before receiving proposed letters of censure. The three remaining individuals were not disciplined because they either had attended both the training conference and the retirement dinner or had some other explanation for traveling to Washington, D.C. The FBI's Law Enforcement Ethics Unit did a study in September 1999 that concluded that a perception existed of a double standard in disciplining SES and non-SES employees. The travel cost to the government for individuals who attended the Potts retirement party was $3,217.

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