Human Events Blog

Fast and Furious: Bill McMahon’s long vacation

William McMahon, former Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, was named as a top figure in the Obama Administration’s deadly “Fast and Furious” scandal by congressional investigators.  He was also accused of giving false testimony to Congress.

McMahon has been on paid leave for the past five months.  But don’t worry, he hasn’t been idle.  In fact, he’s got a full time private sector executive position, working for one of those eeevil financial institutions the Obama Administration is always claiming they want to crack down on.

That’s right: you, the taxpaying sucker, are forking over McMahon’s government salary while he’s simultaneously raking in big bucks as “Executive Director of the Global Security and Investigations Group” at JP Morgan in the Phillipines.  That way, he’ll be able to collect his plush government retirement benefits, even as he gets a half-year head start on his post-Fast and Furious private sector career.

In a completely unrelated coincidence, JP Morgan just happens to be the credit card provider for the ATF.  And they’re big-time Obama donors.

Shall we pause for a moment to imagine the media reaction if a Republican administration launched a massive cover-up of a political operation that killed hundreds of people, and put thousands of still-unaccounted-for guns in the hands of criminals… used executive privilege claims to stonewall investigators… and then rewarded a loyal foot soldier by allowing him to double-dip on salary, while taking a high-level job with a big campaign donor?  Paramedics would be using defrib paddles to revive network news anchors, after they suffered strokes during their round-the-clock America-in-crisis breaking news coverage.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House Oversight Committee and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) of the Judiciary Committee have written to Acting ATF Director Todd Jones, asking some tough questions about this “unusual arrangement,” and demanding the kind of documentation the Obama Administration is extremely reluctant to provide.

Issa and Grassley pointedly noted the difference between McMahon’s sweet deal and the rough treatment of whistleblowers, particularly ATF Agent John Dodson, who was 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.”

“Our most recent joint staff report on Operation Fast and Furious, released on July 31, 2012, scrutinized the role McMahon played in the operation,” says the letter from Issa and Grassley.  “We detailed his failure to supervise the activities of the Phoenix Field Division during Fast and Furious, his admitted failure to read important documents he was responsible for authorizing, and his false testimony regarding his role in authorizing applications for wiretaps in the case.  Despite these failings, ATF not only continues to keep him on its payroll, but also has authorized him to take several months of annual leave while earning a six-figure salary from ATF and an even larger salary at the same time working in the private sector.”

This arrangement may be illegal, particularly if McMahon’s position with JP Morgan directly conflicts with litigation or business between the company and the Justice Department.  It is unquestionably a deviation from standard practices, which Issa and Grassley say “raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement, and the judgment of ATF management.”

Among other questions, Issa and Grassley want to know who ultimately authorized the arrangement with McMahon, and whether similar bargains have been struck with any other ATF personnel over the past three years.  Copies of internal documents and emails in which McMahon’s employment with JP Morgan were discussed have been requested, with a September 4 deadline.

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