The new headquarters of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington is at least $19 million over budget at a time when the agency is considering sharp cuts in the number of new cars, bulletproof vests, and other basics it provides agents, the Washington Post reports. The Justice Department inspector general office has received a complaint alleging that ATF Director Carl Truscott put through or proposed unnecessary plan changes and upgrades to the 438,000-square-foot building in the past two years. Truscott met last week with Acting Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty to address some complaints, and quickly canceled some of the upgrades he had planned for the new headquarters. A Senate subcommittee is looking into the cost increases.
Truscott planned to purchase nearly $300,000 in extras for the new director’s suite, including a $65,000 conference table and more than $100,000 for hardwood floors, custom trim and other items. Some ATF officials object to the $1 million annual cost of an extensive security detail for Truscott, who spent 22 years at the Secret Service before coming to ATF. Spokeswoman Sheree Mixell said a $12 million funding cut last year by Congress — not spending on the building — was a primary cause of current budget difficulties at the agency.