Audit: More DoJ prosecution claims exaggerated

posted at 10:41 am on September 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

For the second straight month, the Department of Justice has been caught exaggerating its record on prosecutions and convictions.  The Inspector General conducted an audit of the DoJ’s claims on terror-related convictions and found that claims made for FY2009 and FY2010 were inflated — by 13% and 23%, respectively (via Gabriel Malor on Twitter):

Shoddy recordkeeping led to significant overstating of terrorism convictions and other inaccuracies by a Justice Department branch that coordinates U.S. attorneys’ offices across the country, according to a federal audit.

The audit by the department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, found that theExecutive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) overstated the number of terrorism-related defendants who had been found guilty in fiscal 2009 by 13 percent and then overstated the same statistic in fiscal 2010 by 26 percent.

The executive office, which oversees 93 U.S. attorneys’ offices, also overstated by 19 percent the number of defendants sentenced to prison in 2010, the audit found.

In sum, Horowitz said, his office found that EOUSA inaccurately reported eight categories of statistics by significant margins.

The IG assigns most of the blame to bad record-keeping, but the numbers make this a rather difficult explanation to take seriously.  The DoJ classified 193 defendants in 2009 and 236 in 2010 as terror-related, which hardly seems like an unmanageable set of data to properly classify.  The scale on this is much lower than, say, the average daily submissions in a state-based ObamaCare exchange.  If the DoJ can’t keep accurate records on this scale, what are we to think about HHS?

The failures look rather suspicious, too.  In the 2009 sample, the IG reviewed 103 cases, and found 11 failures.  Nine of the eleven cases had been adjudicated in 2008, one of which turned out to be a drug case rather than terror, but somehow credit went to Eric Holder’s DoJ. Two of the cases were acquittals.  That’s a pretty high rate of failure for just 103 lines in a database.

Nor does this come in a vacuum.  Last month, Justice had to admit inflating conviction statistics in mortgage-fraud prosecutions, a particularly sensitive area for the Obama administration.  They offered that admission in a Friday night data dump that Bloomberg caught, as they had long been suspicious of Justice’s claims:

The Justice Department made a long-overdue disclosure late Friday: Last year when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder boasted about the successes that a high-profile task force racked up pursuing mortgage fraud, the numbers he trumpeted were grossly overstated.

We’re not talking small differences here. Originally the Justice Department said 530 people were charged criminally as part of a year-long initiative by the multi-agency Mortgage Fraud Working Group. It now says the actual figure was 107 — or 80 percent less. Holder originally said the defendants had victimized more than 73,000 American homeowners. That number was revised to 17,185, while estimates of homeowner losses associated with the frauds dropped to $95 million from $1 billion. …

The government restated the statistics because it got caught red-handed by a couple of nosy reporters. Last October, two days after Holder first publicized the numbers, Phil Mattingly and Tom Schoenberg of Bloomberg News broke the story that some of the cases included in the Justice Department’s tally occurred before the initiative began in October 2011. At least one was filed more than two years before President Barack Obama took office.

Nor was that the first time, as Bloomberg’s Jonathan Weil reminded us last month:

This was the second time, mind you, that Holder’s Justice Department had pulled a stunt like this. In December 2010, Holder held a press conference to tout a supposed sweep by the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force called “Operation Broken Trust.” (The mortgage-fraud program was part of the same task force.) As with the mortgage-fraud initiative, Broken Trust wasn’t actually a sweep. All the Justice Department did was lump together a bunch of small-fry, penny-ante fraud cases that had nothing to do with one another. Then it held a press gathering.

At least on that occasion, the Justice Department promptly provided me with a list of the defendants’ names and case details when I asked for them. That is how I was able to determine for a December 2010 column that the government’s Broken Trust numbers were inflated. Among the handful of cases on the list that I spot-checked, one defendant was sentenced to probation before the operation’s supposed start date. Another person on the list had no record of criminal charges. Other cases had nothing to do with any actions by the task force. The Justice Department still hasn’t restated the Broken Trust numbers — even though those statistics clearly were in error, too.

If this is inadvertently “shoddy record-keeping,” it looks like there’s a pattern to it at Justice — and a purpose.

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Shower time.

Bmore on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM


Chris of Rights on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Great photo there LOL

Good Lt on September 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Wow, someone in the obama administration lying. That’s unusual.

HumpBot Salvation on September 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

This administration has been built on LIES. Where is the surprise?

GarandFan on September 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

The IG assigns most of the blame to bad record-keeping, but the numbers make this a rather difficult explanation to take seriously.

If incompetence is the best defense of an administration, then it’s not simply incompetence. It’s incompetent malevolence.

You don’t “fundamentally transform” a working system. You have to sink a system first, before replacing it.

rbj on September 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Steadman is the worst AG in the history of the US and thats no exaggeration.

neyney on September 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

But their record breaking deportation statistics are correct, right?

Cindy Munford on September 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Lets not forget their “miscalculations” regarding border arrests.

Zaggs on September 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM

OT Alert!!

See also the Blaze for more info…

Spread this around folks :)

Scrumpy on September 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

If Holder wants to pad his conviction rates he should start over at the IRS and the EPA.

antipc on September 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

But their record breaking deportation statistics are correct, right?

Cindy Munford on September 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Only if you’re counting jobs.

Gatsu on September 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

They plot,spy,and hide so much the person doing the record keeping gets confused.

docflash on September 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Video for Truck Stoppage:

Scrumpy on September 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I believe Rush Limbaugh’s personal accuracy rating is more honest than anything coming out of the REB’s administration.

slickwillie2001 on September 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM

You’d almost get the impression that honesty wasn’t high on the list of objectives in this administration.

BKeyser on September 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Didn’t Obama say that 110% of the population was in favor of stricter gun controls? Can anybody do math in Washington?

teejk on September 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Video for Truck Stoppage:

Scrumpy on September 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

The word does not seem to be getting out or it is being ignored by the media (lame stream and otherwise). And what’s this November event?

I work it DC. Good to know what’s going on.

TerryW on September 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Holder may have lied about conviction rates in his Justice Department, but he certainly told the truth about, say, Fast and Furious. Really and truly he did, because, hey, the guy does have a high level of ethics, doesn’t he? And the Preezy has the highest confidence in him, so he must be OK.

NOMOBO on September 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

The ONLY PROSECUTION I care about in the DOJ is the arrest and conviction of Attorney General Eric Holder!

This SOB has perpetrated no less than 4 PROVEN Felon crimes of PERJURY before Congress during several different Congressional Investigations – all of them on TV. Cngress called for the DOJ to press charges against him for his 3 Perjury crimes during his testimony before Congress regarding Fast & Furious. Holder’s hand-picked DOJ REFUSED to press charges, leaving Congress their only option to mete out punishment — A Bi-Partisan Congress voted to CENSURE Holder, making him the 1st Attorney General in US History to ever be Censured. Being ‘Censured’, however, is a written slap on the wrist and completely falls short of the proper punishment for 3 FELONY criminal charges!

Proving he considered his Cebnsureship to be a joke and believing he could get away with anything, he then perpetrated his 4th Felony Count of Perjury before Congress when he told them he had never heard anything about media editors, reporters, & their FAMILIES being wire-tapped…only to return to Congress and admit he was the one who approved the op & even engaged in ‘Judge Shopping’ to find a Liberal judge who would approve the subpoena.

I also find it hypocritically and criminally amazing that Holder admitted to ‘Judge Shopping’ to find someone who would approve the subpoena when he HIMSELF is STILL guilty of refusing to obey current subpoenas demanding more files/records/papers regarding on-going scanadls Fast and Furious and the DOJ wire-tapping caes.

easyt65 on September 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Shower time.

Bmore on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM


KOOLAID2 on September 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

…and the MSM has no idea!

KOOLAID2 on September 18, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Eric Holder? Lying?

C’mon. No way.

novaculus on September 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM