BELLEVUE, WA – One week after the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms called on Congress to block funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pending a congressional investigation, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has asked the Justice Department to investigate ATF whistleblower allegations of waste at the agency.
“We are encouraged that Sen. Ernst has taken this action,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Allegations of waste, mismanagement and unlawful employment practices by a federal agency cannot be taken lightly or simply ignored, and the public deserves some answers.”
Ernst, a Republican, sent a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz Tuesday in which she expressed concerns about the “limited scope” of actions taken so far to address the whistleblower complaints. She noted that the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) had alerted Congress and President Joe Biden about the complaints, especially regarding the wrongful classification of non-law enforcement jobs as law enforcement.
“The American people deserve to know the full extent of the ATF bureaucrats’ dishonest dealings,” Sen. Ernst wrote. “It is incumbent upon all public servants to act with the utmost levels of professionalism but when bureaucrats abuse the public trust it is the responsibility of watchdogs to hold the bad actors accountable for their malfeasance.”
Gottlieb is impressed with the direct tone of Sen. Ernst’s letter.
“For far too long,” he observed, “the ATF has had a less-than-stellar reputation for its involvement in various operations, including an embarrassing sting operation in Milwaukee, Operation Wide Receiver and, of course, Operation Fast and Furious, which put thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican criminals.
“When word of the whistleblower complaints became public,” Gottlieb recalled, “we demanded an investigation, and we were delighted to learn Sen. Ernst wants the same level of scrutiny. The Biden administration has tried to weaponize ATF to push its gun control agenda, and now the agency appears to have some serious in-house problems the Office of Special Counsel does not appear to have adequately addressed. It’s time to rein in the ATF. The American public deserves no less.”