JANUARY 14, 2009
In a rather bizarre case of public corruption, a U.S. government lawyer who worked part-time as a sports statistician regularly enlisted federal officers to ferry him and television sportscasters to events in government vehicles.
The strange tale is laid out in a lengthy Justice Department Inspector General report that tells how a veteran attorney at the United States Marshals Services Office of General Counsel fleeced taxpayers and, incredibly, how his supervisors repeatedly approved the wrongdoing.
The highly regarded government attorney (Joseph Band) regularly abused his clout to enlist U.S. Marshals cars and deputies to chauffer him and his television sportscaster buddies to various events, including the 2007 World Series in Boston, the 2007 college football championship game and the 2008 Super Bowl (both in Phoenix Arizona) as well as a 2008 National Football League playoff game in Tampa Florida.
Benefiting from the taxpayer-financed jaunts were well-known sportscasters such as Emmy Award-winner Joe Buck, one-time pro baseball player Tim McCarver and former star quarterback Troy Aikman, a member of the pro football Hall of Fame.
Band was also gracious enough to provide his sportscaster pals with four deputy marshals to drive them to a pair of World Series games, even though he evidently didn’t attend them. On every occasion, high-ranking supervisors approved the personal use of government equipment and personnel, according to the report.
Ironically, Band was a member of the U.S. Marshals highly regarded ethics team which provides crucial training and advising to agency managers and employees nationwide. The ethics team website claims that the U.S. Marshals Service is committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior as a law enforcement agency entrusted with important authorities on behalf of the American public.
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