Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Follow the money." Meet ATF's favorite "whitewash crew." 15 pages of FOIA redactions, but there is more than one way to skin a skunk.

"Just follow the money."

Robert Redford as Bob Woodward: "Supposedly he's got a lawyer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag."

Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat, a.k.a. Mark Felt: "Follow the money."

Redford: "...What do you mean?... Where?"

Holbrook: "Oh, I can't tell you that."

Redford: "But you could tell me that."

Holbrook: "No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all... Just follow the money." -- All the President's Men.

Ever since there has been an ATF, there were always EEOC complaints. The Good O' Boys Roundup scandal was the just tip of the iceberg. Over the years, though, the scope of EEOC mechanisms broadened out from strictly racial issues. In time, federal government managers looked to outside law firms to help defend against an ever-widening number and type of complaints. In theory this "contracting out" was to allow the complaints to be investigated dispassionately, without prejudice to either side. In practice, the legal contractors began to identify more and more with the hand that fed them. They also developed investigative arms that grew larger than the legal staff, since in all cases, knowledge is power and credibility is the coin of the realm.

Meet Delany, Seigel, Zorn & Associates. DSZ is a private business management consultant with offices in Boston and Arlington, Virginia. It is thought that by some DC folks I asked that the estimates found on the web of an annual revenue of up to $5 million and an employee base of 20 is understated. EEOC consulting is growth industry for DSZ, at least in part thanks to the ATF.

As a long-time observer of DC told me the other day, "They are a monster. (DSZ is) the government whitewash crew for EEOC complaints. So now we know where some of the 1.1 billion dollars is going."

As for DSZ, this is what they have to say about their products and services:

DSZ's services are designed to help you identify and solve employment problems in the workplace before they become troublesome. . .

DSZ's 18 years of investigation experience will provide you with cost effective, accurate, reliable and timely investigations in response to employment discrimination complaints. DSZ conducts over 800 investigations annually. We have more than 60 experienced, independent investigators available, nationwide, in whose technical excellence, judgment and professionalism you can be confident.

DSZ has investigated a wide range of employment issues, including those involving individual, consolidated and class complaints. You can trust DSZ's experience and expertise to help your organization or company effectively investigate its employment discrimination complaints. You can rely on DSZ whether the issue is sexual harassment, reasonable accommodation under the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act issues, or allegations under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or the Equal Pay Act.

For federal agencies, DSZ's experienced legal staff also provides written case analyses, including draft and final agency decisions. DSZ's investigative files have successfully guided employers through administrative hearings and litigation. Our final agency decisions have withstood EEOC and Court reviews and analyses.

Here is the GSA contract ordering information and here is the DSZ price table. They ain't cheap and ATF provides them with substantial billable hours.

How much of your tax dollars goes to DSZ by way of ATF?

Well, ATF agent Vince Cefalu at tried to find out by filing a Freedom of Information Act request. Here is what they got back:

Fifteen pages just like this. Cefalu comments:

Well now that we are on a continuing resolution and we apparently have NO money, maybe the ACTING Director can explain the attached documents. We have no money for travel, training, SRT, NRT, or any other significant Bureau program, BUT? Attached is ONE of 15 pages of redacted FOIA information, representing how much the Bureau has paid out to the contract agency used to investigate EEOC allegations. Apparently the Director and Mr. Hoover have ignored or are not aware of President Obama's and the Attorney Generals direction regarding transparency. Do the math, how much would the following disbursements pay for in the way of mission related expenses? Would it have paid for more investigative expenses? Is it National security information? Simple question, HOW MUCH HAVE WE PAID to cover up gross mismanagement? There is line after line of TAXPAYER money which they(ATF)feel is somehow protected. You decide. How much do you think 15 pages amounts to?

DSZ's corporate logo?

Well, as Grandpa Vanderboegh used to say, there's more than one way to skin a skunk. I consulted the DSZ staff directory and decided to ask the other end of this Faustian pact what they were willing to disclose.

-----Original Message-----
From: georgemason1776
To: swilliams
Cc: stephen_miller ; sarah_haley ; Stephen.R.Rubenstein
Sent: Sat, Jan 1, 2011 10:55 am
Subject: re: BATFE billing.

Sonya Williams, President
DSZ & Associates
1501 Lee Highway, Suite 205
Arlington, VA 22209
Sent to:

Dear Ms. Williams,

A FOIA request recently filed by ATF Special Agent Vincent Cefalu regarding BATFE expenditures, in his words, "representing how much the Bureau has paid out to the contract agency used to investigate EEOC allegations," came back with fifteen pages so heavily redacted that the only thing readable on them is your firm's name. No doubt this is in keeping with the Obama administration's diktat on "transparency."

However, as my Grandpa Vanderboegh used to say, "There's more than one way to skin a skunk." Therefore, I thought I would write you and ask you the same question that SA Cefalu is asking his agency.

How much business has DSZ done with the BATFE over the past five years? Obviously I'm not asking for names or any other information that might be confidential. Inquiring minds would just like to know how much business you've done with BATFE in gross dollars. Surely that is not classified information.

You will note that I have copied this email to members of Senator Sessions' staff and will also forward it later to members of the House of Representatives various oversight committees. One way or another, now or later, this fact will surely become public.

So, to avoid all sorts of sturm und drang acrimony, can't you help us all out by disclosing what SA Cefalu has asked his agency -- information which surely ought to be released under the Freedom of Information Act?

I await your reply with great interest.

Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126


Defender said...

Thanks for following up, Mike. You're an inspiration. We want answers, they give us insults. They sound like the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart from "Angel," the spinoff of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," who kept demons and their human henchman out of trouble no matter what they did.

Mark Matis said...

Your basic assumption is that either the Senate or the House will get an honest accounting from this Administration. I believe that you have WAY TOO MUCH FAITH in the Rule of Law. We are NO LONGER a society under the Rule of Law. We are instead serfs under the rule of Thugs with Guns. Until those Thugs are eliminated, do not expect ANY accounting of how they do what.

Anonymous said...

So, to avoid all sorts of sturm und drang acrimony, can't you help us all out by disclosing what SA Cefalu has asked his agency --MVB

Thank you Mike, for making reasonable overtures toward a political solution to the chicanery practiced by our various fedgov alphabet soup agencies.

In the smoking aftermath of outraged retribution, our posterity deserves to know that we made every human effort to resolve the problem peaceably before taking up arms.