OIG: Drug Enforcement Administration Should Investigate Whether Officers Are Improperly Fundraising

The Inspector General has found that the Drug Enforcement Administration should investigate whether divisions are improperly fundraising for the Survivors Benefit Fund.

The OIG was responding to two complaints that DEA officers were operating a store selling goods to raise proceeds for the Survivors Benefit fund, which contravenes federal regulations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Survivors Benefit Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization created in 1997 for the purpose of providing financial benefits to surviving family members of DEA employees and deputized task force officers killed in the line of duty. The standards of ethical conduct provides that a federal employee may engage in fundraising in his or her personal capacity for nonprofit organizations, but it also states that the employee may not personally solicit funds or other support from prohibited sources or use one’s official title, position or any authority associated with one’s public office to further any fundraising efforts. The investigation also suggested that other field divisions may also be operating similar stores for the benefit of SBF, also in contravention of federal ethics.

The OIG recommends that the DEA should determine whether any of its field divisions are currently operating stores and, if so, whether they are providing funds to SBF or other similar organizations. It also recommends that if proceeds from the sales are being provided to the SBF or similar organizations, the DEA should direct those stores to immediately take action to comply with federal regulations. And finally, the report recommends that the DEA should draft and implement a policy regarding the operation of division “stores” to ensure that stores are operating within the bounds of the law, such as incorporating as a not-for-profit entity, establishing a board of directors, and adopting written bylaws.

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