FBI managers suspected of misusing travel vouchers

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have called for an investigation of alleged misconduct at the FBI involving the submission of false vouchers for travel to a 1997 retirement party. In a July 10 letter, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the General Accounting Office to investigate if Senior Executive Service members submitted false vouchers to cover travel to a party for former FBI Assistant Director Larry Potts. In the letter, the two senators also asked GAO to find out if "a sham conference was set up in Quantico, Va. to provide an excuse for FBI personnel from around the country to travel to Mr. Potts' retirement party at government expense." At a July 18 committee hearing on the FBI, John Roberts, the chief of the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, testified that an internal investigation of the incident verified that the allegations were true. "False vouchers were submitted by these individuals, but the adjudication findings by their peers were that these employees failed to pay attention to detail and they received letters of censure, a relatively light disciplinary action," Roberts told committee members. In fact, Roberts said some of the seven Senior Executive Service employees involved received promotions and cash awards during the investigation. "We serve the American people and they have a right to an FBI that is corruption-free and operates at a high expectation of excellence," Roberts testified. The senators also asked GAO to verify that the in-house investigation had been handled fairly, and to examine travel documents for recent retirement functions for discrepancies. Senior Executives Association President Carol Bonosaro declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, saying that all the facts are not yet known.