Special Counsel Investigation Doesn’t Deter Obama From Nominating ATF Director; Senate GOP Outraged
President Barack Obama has nominated B. Todd Jones to fill a seven-year vacancy to direct the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), even though Jones is currently being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over allegations he retaliated against a whistle-blower when he was a U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.
Needless to say, Republicans in the Senate are angry. Senate Democrats are wanting to move ahead with Jones’ confirmation hearings — but GOP Senators are threatening to block the nomination.
“We’re left today to take Mr. Jones’s word,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We have no way of independently verifying what he says or ascertain the truth of the matter. It is unfortunate that we go ahead with this hearing before an open complaint is resolved.”
Grassley followed that up by calling on the committee to launch an investigation of its own into Jones’ alleged harassment of a Minnesota whistle-blower. Details about that case are scarce while the DOJ’s investigation is active.
Obama nominated Jones to head the ATF as part of his 23-item list of proposals to toughen gun laws after last year’s Newtown, Conn., mass shooting.
Ben Bullard Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.
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