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Top FBI Officials Used War on Terror Jets for Personal, Business Travel

Written by FEDagent on . Posted in General News

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation has found that top Department of Justice and FBI officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, his predecessor in the Bush administration, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, have been using two Gulfstream V jets for business and personal trips at an expense of millions of dollars to taxpayers.

The FBI’s jets, leased for use during the war on terror, logged 60% of their hours between 2007 and 2011 on “non-mission flights” that cost taxpayers $11.4 million. The travel included 88 personal trips for Holder and former Republican Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who stepped down in 2009, and 10 for Mueller, the review found.

In 2011, Holder’s use of one of the aircraft left the FBI without access to the Gulfstream during a counterterrorism operation. As a result, agents had to scramble to secure a charter plane.

The FBI does have cheaper aircraft, the smaller Citation jet and a Haviland Dash 8 turboprop, which were used for years to transport former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Since 2007, those smaller and cheaper planes were only used by Holder, Mukasey, and Mueller about a third of the time, the GAO report found.

"These luxury jets were supposedly needed for counterterrorism, but it turns out that they were used almost two-thirds of the time for jet-setting executive travel instead," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the Justice Department and FBI.

Read the GAO Report, Department of Justice: Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes, here.

Just the Facts

New Names to be Dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

Last year, 100 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement officers lost their lives serving in communities across America. With the addition of those 100 names, along with the 186 recently discovered line-of-duty deaths from past years, 286 names will be dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, during the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held on May 13. Learn more about National Police Week and the many ceremonies and events taking place in Washington, DC, www.LawMemorial.org/Programs/PoliceWeek/.

For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, please visit www.nleomf.org. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, please visit www.nleomf.org/museum.

Contest Corner

Win A Free Full Conference Pass to GovSec 2014

Want to win a FREE ticket to the nation's premiere government security, law enforcement and homeland security expo and conference?

GovSec 2014 is the only event that brings together everything you need to be ready when it counts. This year's conference runs from May 13-15 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

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Takedowns

Justice Department Announces First Ever Successful Extradition on Antitrust Charge

Last week the Justice Department announced the first ever successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge.

Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national, was extradited from Germany on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, according to the Justice Department press release.

Pisciotti arrived last week in the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, and appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale.

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GEICO's Good Stuff

OPM Retirement Backlog Shrank in March

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The number of backlogged retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) fell in March, as the agency was able to process more claims than it took in.

According to new figures from OPM, the backlog of unprocessed claims stood at 18,573 at the end of March, down from 23,554 at the end of February.

The agency expects the overall claims backlog to trend downward over the next few months, but still has thousands of unprocessed claims pending after sequestration and cuts to overtime slowed the process last year.

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Case Law Update

Federal Employee Kills Spouse and Self Leading to Inheritance Dispute at MSPB

A federal employee covered under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (“FERS”) designated his wife as his only beneficiary for any contributions to his retirement account that were payable at his death. The employee and his wife did not have children together, but both had adult children from previous relationships. On October 15, 2011, the employee killed his wife and then, apparently, took his own life as well. The employee’s wife’s son, on behalf of her estate, applied for a lump-sum credit based on the employee’ service, but the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) denied the application, finding that the employee’s wife predeceased the employee, meaning that because she died before the employee, she could not come into possession (as a beneficiary) of any contributions to his retirement account payable at death. OPM found that the employee’s children, rather than the employee’s wife’s children, were the beneficiaries of the lump-sum benefit. The wife’s estate appealed to the MSPB, and an MSPB administrative judge applied Virginia’s Slayer Statute to find that the employee, because he was the “slayer,” legally predeceased his wife, and therefore the wife’s estate was entitled to the lump-sum benefit. OPM petitioned the full Board for review, and on April 1, 2014, the Board reversed the initial decision and affirmed OPM’s final decision denying the application.

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