Friday, March 02, 2007

About that firing range...

The firing range for the Marshals is often cited as one of the cool features of the new courthouse. Apparently not so cool... From today's USA Today (Hat tip to FOB, that's Friend of Blog):

A U.S. Marshals Service official misspent $4.3 million meant for courthouse security and witness protection to pay for fitness centers and firing ranges at federal buildings, a Justice Department investigation found.

The Office of Management and Budget repeatedly told David Barnes not to use construction money on exercise and training facilities, citing agency policy and appropriations laws that restricted the money for improved prisoner security, the report said.

Barnes, who oversees courthouse space for the agency, concealed the spending from his superiors and directed $2.6 million in construction money for fitness centers and firing ranges at 20 federal courthouses from 2000 to 2005, according to a copy of the 41-page report obtained by USA TODAY.

The agency has not acted on the report, which it received last April.

Barnes also used nearly $900,000 budgeted for witness protection to build a firing range in the Miami federal courthouse, and he used nearly $400,000 in construction money to hire fitness center staff and clerical workers at the Marshals Service headquarters, where Barnes works, the investigation found. Some workers were friends or relatives of Barnes and his subordinates and were unqualified for the jobs, the report said.

Barnes' lawyer, Charles Printz, said his client had the authority to spend construction money on firing ranges and fitness centers. Printz said the investigation was spurred by disgruntled employees and he expected his client to be cleared.

Here's the breakdown of bad spending from one of USA Today's cool charts. Miami's in first place!!

According to a Justice Department report, $3,028,847 was misspent from fiscal year 2000 to fiscal year 2005 on building and renovating fitness rooms and firing ranges in 20 federal courthouses. (*) The locations and the amount:


Tallahassee, Fla.

Fort Worth



Charleston, S.C.

Charleston, W.Va.


San Diego

Cheyenne, Wyo.

San Francisco

Hattiesburg, Miss.

St. Louis

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Sioux City, Iowa

Greenville, Miss.

Elkins, W.Va.

Oxford, Miss.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Syracuse, N.Y.


* - In addition, more than $800,000 was spent maintaining and staffing some of these and other facilities.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Better shootin' Marshals are better at protecting witnesses. What's the big dea?

Better fit Marshals are better at protecting the judges. What's the problem...Unless they are tryin' to use those big bulging bicepts to lure unsuspecting AUSAs (married or unmarried) to sleep with them...But of course, we all know none of them would do that!