By Ramsey Cox
Two key Republicans ripped the Obama administration on Wednesday for allowing an official involved in Operation Fast and Furious to draw a six-figure salary from JPMorgan even as he received a regular government paycheck.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the ATF let the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) official take a paid leave on the taxpayer's dime even as he served as executive director of JPMorgan Chase's Global Security and Investigations Group in the Philippines.
“ATF has essentially facilitated [William] McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks — one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector,” Grassley and Issa wrote in a letter that requested an explanation from the ATF's acting director.
McMahon remains a full-time employee in ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
Grassley and Issa said they were also concerned because McMahon has been scrutinized for his role in the botched gun-tracking operation that saw the ATF allow guns to fall into hands of Mexican drug cartels, which the ATF hoped to track.
“Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management,” the letter stated.
Grassley and Issa said ATF wasn’t under any obligation to agree to the McMahon's deal and therefore have shown a failure to make good decisions. The two lawmakers pointed out that the agency has handled similar situations differently.
The two lawmakers, who have led GOP investigations into Fast and Furious, said “the ATF appears to be rewarding McMahon,” rather than imposing consequences for his perceived failures.
They included a list of 22 questions they want answered about ATF’s decision to allow McMahon to take two salaries. They said they want the requested documents and answers by Sept. 4.
Issa is the Chairman of the House Oversights and Government Reform Committee and Grassley is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley initiated the investigation into Fast and Furious with a letter he sent to ATF in 2011 after the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Guns released under the Fast and Furious program were found at his murder site.