Days after it was reported the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) had alerted Congress and President Joe Biden about allegations of waste, mismanagement and unlawful employment practices at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a leading gun rights organization is asking Congress to block agency funding in the 2024 budget until the charges can be fully investigated.
The allegations came from two whistleblowers in the human resources office of that agency.
Now, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is asking Congress “to fully investigate” the allegations.
In his letter to the President and Congress, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said the whistleblowers “indicated that ATF has not adequately corrected the wrongdoing, asserting that employees continue to hold positions for which they are unqualified and that it is legally unsupportable to waive the debts
incurred by employees who improperly received LEAP (Law Enforcement Availability Pay).” He further noted that ATF “substantiated the whistleblowers’ allegations.”
The Kerner letter may be read here.
“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?”
Despite Kerner’s assurance in his letter that ATF has taken corrective actions, Gottlieb remains unconvinced.
“We’re not confident the ATF can fix its problems internally,” he said,” 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.”
According to the letter, ATF has “implemented a variety of new programs and processes in response to the required and recommended actions in the OPM evaluation; finalized the new Job Analysis and Quality Review Process Standard Operating Procedures; launched a new Human Resources Liaison Program; implemented a new Strategic Recruitment Form; staffed and implemented a quality review process; and reorganized the Human Resources Operations Division to include new Performance Management and Human Resources Policy and Quality Control Branches. DOJ’s Justice Management Division has also hired a classification expert, who will collaborate with OPM and ATF to develop and implement a strategy to reassess the duties and ensure proper classification of the unresolved positions.”
Kerner’s letter to the president also 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.”