Grassley Seeks Action On FinCEN Hiring Probe
Send a link to a friend
[May 07, 2014]
By Brett Wolf and Emily Flitter
ST LOUIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Senator
Chuck Grassley is taking steps to make sure federal authorities are
probing hiring practices of the Treasury Department's anti-money
laundering arm, FinCEN, after the division was caught illegally
screening job candidates.
Grassley, an Iowa Republican and ranking member of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, said he planned to reach out to the Office of
the Inspector General, which oversees Treasury's operations, to see
if it will proceed with an investigation recommended by an
independent agency, the Office of Personnel Management.
Grassley said in a statement emailed to Reuters late on Monday he is
also reaching out to another agency that enforces federal labor laws
to see if it plans to investigate the matter, which was reported by
Reuters on Friday.
During a routine audit earlier this year, OPM discovered that the
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network had been screening candidates
for jobs in its enforcement division in a quest to hire only lawyers
for the positions, according to several sources familiar with the
matter. Federal hiring rules prohibit screening prospective hires
for skills not required by the job's official description.
"It's embarrassing for an agency that's supposed to enforce federal
law to be caught in violation itself," Grassley said in the
"The investigations should cover whether Treasury officials, in
fact, knew about FinCEN's practices and didn't do anything, and if
so, why not," he added.
Two sources told Reuters some senior Treasury officials knew about
FinCEN's screening process, in which human resources personnel asked
candidates whether they had "complex litigation experience," while
the recruiting effort was underway.
OPM recommended an investigation by the Treasury IG and the Office
of Special Counsel. Grassley will first ask Treasury Inspector
General Eric Thorson informally about his plans for the
investigation, but may follow up with a formal letter. Grassley also
plans to contact the OSC to find out whether the body will proceed
with the investigation OPM recommended.
[to top of second column]
Grassley has also asked OPM for a copy of its report on FinCEN's
Richard Delmar, a spokesman for Thorson, said his office had
referred the matter to the OSC, a move he said was the standard
procedure for handling OPM's request. The OSC's job is to
investigate violations of federal labor laws, such as discrimination
and retaliation against whistleblowers.
A spokesman for the OSC said the agency received the Treasury IG's
referral and has opened a case. An OPM spokesman said the agency
would have no comment on any specific requests from members of
Congress and was referring all media inquiries on FinCEN to the
Treasury Department. A spokeswoman for the Treasury declined to
In Congress, the House Financial Services Committee oversees FinCEN.
A spokesman for the committee did not respond to an inquiry by
(Reporting by Brett Wolf in St Louis and Emily Flitter in New York;
Editing by Eric Walsh)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.