Especially expensive agents

  For the fourth time in five years, the BLM's law enforcement division has been blasted for shenanigans that were at best imprudent. An audit prepared by the Department of the Interior found that during 1991-92 the division's 69 special agents misrepresented their case loads and misused their $27 million two-year budget. According to the report: fully 41 percent of the cases logged by the agents should never have been undertaken or assigned case numbers; agents billed $1.3 million in overtime for routine activities which often did not legally merit the expense; and the agency spent $600,000 on expensive vehicles which were then used by the agents for commuting. Taking vehicles home was necessary in case of an emergency, the agents said, but auditors couldn't find any instance where a special agent had to respond to emergency calls after hours. Dennis McLane, acting director of the division, said the audit had been helpful but that much of the criticism was based on bookkeeping errors. "In terms of the records available to them, it's accurate," he says, "but in terms of what I know of what we've been accomplishing, I think it's misleading."

For a copy of the Audit Report on Selected Law Enforcement Activities, Bureau of Land Management (No. 94-I-1351), contact the office of the Inspector General at the Department of the Interior, 202/208-4356.
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