BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today asked Congress to fully investigate allegations of “substantial waste, mismanagement and unlawful employment practices at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)” before approving the agency’s FY 2024 budget request of $1.9 billion.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has alerted Congress and President Joe Biden about allegations from two whistleblowers in the ATF human resources office that the agency “unlawfully provided law enforcement pay and benefits to agents and investigators who filled non-law-enforcement positions, such as in human resources.”  According to the OSC letter, sent by Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner, “These positions had been intentionally misclassified to be within the law enforcement job series.”

“ATF has been a troubled agency for decades,” noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “and its recent flip flop on arm braces is just the tip of the iceberg. Has anyone been held accountable for this apparent mismanagement? Was anyone ever fired or otherwise penalized for the deadly Fast and Furious scandal? How about Operation Wide Receiver?

“We’re not confident the ATF can fix its problems internally,” he continued,” so that job must be up to Congress, specifically the House Oversight Committee. And while Congress is handling this, there should be no budget approval for the agency, especially one providing a 7.4 percent increase over the ATF budget during Fiscal Year 2023.”

Kerner’s letter to the president noted that the Office of Personnel Management had identified 91 misclassified positions, and ATF had found 17 more for a total of 108 positions. Gottlieb called that an alarming error. He was not impressed with reports the agency had reassigned 36 people involved in the problem, and 14 more had retired, or even that ATF’s authority to classify federal law enforcement positions had been suspended.

“This is a poor example of our tax dollars at work,” Gottlieb said. “It reinforces the perception of an agency out of control. Is it any wonder that America’s gun owners have mistrust for the agency? The only way to get ATF’s attention is to deny its funding while a thorough investigation is conducted.”