A high-ranking U.S. Capitol Police official — one of the department's five deputy chiefs — is under scrutiny because of complaints that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.
One of the issues is whether that relationship led to a transfer for the subordinate to what many on the force consider a plum new assignment in the department's background-investigations section, according to multiple sources.
A grievance was submitted, but the union for Capitol Police officers says it is now taking a wait-and-see approach to how Police Chief Kim Dine handles the matter. The allegations have stoked significant indignation and resentment among many rank-and-file officers, some of whom are wary that anything will be done by Dine, who took over the department's helm in December 2012.
"In the past, under different leadership, the union has felt that the department hasn't handled allegations of inappropriate personal conduct, relationships, or sexual harassment involving supervisors properly," according to an "official comment" provided Tuesday from the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee.
That statement continues: "As in any investigation, the union believes everyone is entitled to due process regardless of the circumstances. Out of respect to Chief Dine, who deserves a chance to change the culture within the USCP, we will withhold further comment until any investigation that may be going on is concluded and the facts are known."
Sources have provided the names of the deputy chief and the officer, neither of whom returned telephone calls.
Many within the department's ranks view the job transfer earlier this year as an abrupt elevation for the officer into the department's administrative ranks. Her previous assignment was on a detail attached to the Senate office buildings outside of the Capitol.
"It's a cushy job, and he got her the job," said one department source, speaking of the deputy chief. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing potential repercussions from departmental higher-ups.
In fact, so charged has become the atmosphere within the department that several officers this week disclosed that a formal grievance was submitted — and was even publicly posted for other union members to read. But they said the grievance has since been removed from a site, and that it was their understanding the officer involved found himself the subject of disciplinary action.
The chairman of the Capitol Police Labor Committee's executive board, Jim Konczos, said that story is simply not true.
"The grievance was posted and removed because it listed names," said Konczos, in an email response. He added, "The grievance was pulled at this time but could be resubmitted and rewritten at a later date."
"Any grievance posted by the union will not name names," said Konczos, who added that he did not know who posted it. "We grieve contract and policy violations, not individuals. There is never any reason to list names."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Capitol Police Inspector General has been looking into the allegations of impropriety, according to sources.
Officially, Dine and the department are not saying much about the controversy.
A statement released Monday by a department spokeswoman — on the condition only that it be published in its entirety — underscored, "The U.S. Capitol Police does not comment on personnel matters to help ensure the integrity of our internal processes and investigations and the privacy of our employees." And it added, "The Department cautions against publishing unsubstantiated information that may impact our employees' professional and personal lives."
The statement then offers that, "Generally, it is a management right to assign work to carry out the mission of the Department."
"With regard to the authorities of the USCP Inspector General, the OIG is a statutorily established independent office and has the authority and responsibility to supervise and conduct audits, inspections, and investigations involving USCP programs, functions, systems, or operations," the statement explained.
A spokeswoman for House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich., did not respond to inquiries about whether that panel has been made aware of the controversy.