WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa today asked the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to explain how a top ATF official involved in Operation Fast and Furious, Bill McMahon, can remain on paid leave while simultaneously drawing an additional six figure salary from a major financial services company. Given McMahon’s extensive involvement in the leadership failures of Operation Fast and Furious, Grassley and Issa sought a detailed explanation of why the Justice Department would approve this special arrangement for McMahon.
“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement,” wrote Issa and Grassley. “Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management.”
The letter continues: “ATF has essentially facilitated McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks—one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector. Moreover, ATF did not wait for the Office of Inspector General to complete its report on Fast and Furious before approving the arrangement. This is in sharp contrast to the posture the agency has taken with whistleblowers like Special Agent John Dodson, who is told he must wait until the Inspector General’s report is complete before the agency will even consider his simple request for a statement retracting the false statements made about him by agency leadership.”
The text of their letter is available here. The first part of the final report on the joint Congressional investigation of conduct in Operation Fast and Furious is available here. The report presents evidence detailing numerous errors and decisions by ATF officials and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office that led to serious problems – including inter-agency communication failures between ATF, DEA, and FBI.