No agency better exemplifies the malfeasance of this administration than the ATF – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This same organization that was involved in the most egregious gun running scandal in American history (Fast and Furious) is also prosecuting law-abiding gun owners with zealous furor. Yet, Senator John McCain has just ensured that the man who was at the scene of the crime gets confirmed as the next permanent director of ATF.
After being without a director for five years, McCain is hell-bent on rewarding Obama’s bad behavior by confirming the acting director, Todd Jones, as permanent director. Todd Jones was the highest ranking official during Fast and Furious. Mr. Jones has refused to answer questions from Senator Grassley, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, concerning the scandal and any disciplinary action taken by his office.
What is even more concerning is that Jones is under investigation by the Office of Special Council over accusations that he retaliated against whistleblowers when he was U.S. Attorney in Minnesota. This is particularly disturbing given the necessity to shine some sun light inside the ATF. Jones has already warned ATF employees not to report on anything outside their chain of command. Additionally, Jones has already overseen egregious gun stings that went awry, such as Milwaukee Operation Fearless. In that instance, individuals were erroneously charged with crimes, federally owned automatic weapons lost, and a gun store was damaged by ATF agents.
There is no doubt that gun control activists want Jones confirmed so the ATF can begin its persecution of American gun owners instead of cleaning up its own broken house. So why would any Republican support his nomination?
Well, remember that earlier this month Mitch McConnell sent out his minions to cut a deal with Democrats to confirm every radical nominee under the sun. Now President Obama knows he will have 60 votes for every nominee, and is taking full advantage of the free ride to passage. Initially, Democrats were two votes shy, but McCain was seen on the Senate floor twisting arms. He convinced Senator Lisa Murkowski to flip her vote. Now they are just one vote shy and are holding the vote open until pseudo-moderate, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, flies into D.C.
Once again, we must ask, where is leadership? Where are their staffers? Where are the floor speeches against this? Is Mitch McConnell the party leader or is John McCain the defacto leader?
Update: Democrats won the cloture vote after Senator Heitkamp flew in from North Dakota to cast the 60th vote for Jones, laying waste to the notion that there are any pro-gun Democrats. The six Republicans who voted for cloture were Ayotte, Collins, Graham, Kirk, McCain & Murkowski.