Multiple whistleblowers have come forward from the U.S. Marshals Service, claiming that leadership within the agency uses requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to retaliate against individuals because they sought to report various abuses of power.
Among the claims made by the whistleblowers is that the U.S. Marshals Service has a major problem with nepotism. One cited example is that Kimberly Beal, the agency’s assistant director, allegedly hired a family member to be an intern in her office and then approved multiple cross-country trips for the individual. Those trips are only supposed to be approved for criminal investigators. According to the whistleblowers, issues like these are regular occurrences within the U.S. Marshals Service.
There have been several instances in the past of government agencies attempting to block FOIA requests made by whistleblowers that would help their complaints against the government. This case is unique, however, because government officials are accused of filing FOIA requests against the whistleblowers with hopes of getting information that would discredit them and make it seemingly justifiable to retaliate against them.
The whistleblowers say that these actions taken by government officials are indicative of an attitude and culture with the Justice Department that discourages people with information about agency misconduct from coming forward. They claim it is not uncommon for gag orders to be put on would-be whistleblowers with information that would be potentially damaging to the agency.
Employer retaliation is illegal under a variety of federal labor laws. If you have been the victim of retaliation, speak with an experienced lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers, based in Dallas, Texas.