A New York Times report states that agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rented a $21,000 suite at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2012 with an off-the-books bank account.
The Times reports that agents also used the account to pay for a trip to Las Vegas to a tobacco convention and donate money to the school of one of the agent’s children. The account also was used to finance undercover operations around the country despite laws prohibiting government officials from using private money to supplement their budgets, according to the story. The report states that the Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating the secret account.
The report states the account was created by agents based in Bristol, Virginia, who were investigating tobacco smuggling.
The Times states that a 16-person suite was rented at Bristol Motor Speedway for the 2012 Irwin Tools Night Race, which was won by Denny Hamlin. A receipt obtained by the Times showed the suite cost $21,000. The story states that one focus of the Bristol operation was the Paraguayan tobacco manufacturer Tabesa.