An official at the U.S. parole commission is a target of an internal U.S. Justice Department investigation over allegations of misconduct in hiring practices, court records in Washington reveal.
DOJ's inspector general's office is conducting an investigation into allegations that Judy Carter, the executive officer of the parole commission, hired friends and family as employees and contractors, the court records show. The government wants Bank of America to turn over financial records via a subpoena.
Carter's attorney, Wendell Robinson, in late January asked a federal judge in Washington to quash the subpoena served on Bank of America. Robinson said in the court papers that the government is "violating [Carter's] right to confrontation, in that she was questioned … without the right to confront her accusers."
Robinson said in court papers that DOJ has "records and documents [through which] it knows, or through the exercise of ordinary care, it should have known, that Carter does not have the authority to hire friends and family, as employees and contractors, and that she has not done so."
Robinson, a solo practitioner in Washington, wasn't immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon, and neither was Carter, who does not serve on the commission itself. Her responsibilities, according to DOJ, include "authorizing certain personnel actions" that involve human resources staff at the commission.
The parole commission, a component of DOJ, hears requests from inmates seeking release from federal prison. Federal civilian defendants sentenced after the Sentencing Reform Act of 1987 are not eligible for parole. The commission's jurisdiction includes those offenders whose crimes were committed before the reform act.
Today, DOJ lawyers responded to Carter's effort to block the subpoena targeting her bank records. An assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, Peter Maier, said in court papers "the subpoena is lawful in all respects."
The DOJ inspector general's office "issued the subpoena Carter challenges in connection with an investigation into credible allegations of misconduct in hiring practices," Maier wrote in today's court filing. The allegations also include "a charge that she awarded a contract to a company owned by a personal friend."
The investigation, DOJ lawyers said, seeks to determine whether Carter "has committed criminal acts or administrative misconduct by hiring and promoting a relative and whether she is benefiting financially from the employment of any person she hired."
The conduct under investigation, the government said, could violate federal conflict of interest laws and federal anti-nepotism laws.
Maier said Carter's denial that she committed any wrongdoing "may, if true, present a defense to any liability." But that defense, he said, "hardly bars an investigation into such practices or bars enforcement of a subpoena in furtherance of such an investigation."