Official Report: ATF Money Scandal Would Be 'Fraud'

Posted: Mar 26, 2014 12:00 PM

Back in 2012 it was revealed former ATF Deputy Assistant Director of Operations in the West Bill McMahon was pulling a $200,000 annual year salary from JPMorgan Chase while at the same time continuing to take a taxpayer funded, paid leave salary at the agency. McMahon did this in order to avoid losing retirement benefits with ATF after fallout from Operation Fast and Furious. Despite being unethical, McMahon's double dipping was a conflict of interest since JPMorgan holds the credit cards ATF uses for government business.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Inspector General released a report to the House Oversight Committee that revealed ATF officials, including a woman in charge of the ATF Ethics Agency, inappropriately approved McMahon's dual salary. That report was released to the public yesterday.

"The OIG concluded that Mr. McMahon's supervisor at the time, ATF Assistant Director Julie Torres, ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, and ATF's then-Deputy Chief Counsel and Deputy Designated Agency Ethics Official Melanie Stinnett inappropriately approved Mr. McMahon's request to engage in full-time outside employment with JPMorgan for an indefinite period while also collecting his full-time pay from ATF. In addition, the same ATF officials were unaware of an ATF Order prohibiting 'terminal leave,'" Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a letter to Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.

The OIG report reveals Torres, Brandon and other officials were sure to approve McMahon's extended ATF leave and outside JPMorgan employment until he fulfilled his retirement benefit requirements. [bolding is mine]

"The OIG found that Torres exercised poor judgement and failed to responsibly perform her duties when she approved McMahon's written request to engage in outside employment, and when she separately approved McMahon's written request to use SL during July 2012 after having already approved his written request to engage in full-time employment with JPMorgan beginning in July 2012. Among other reasons, Torres's action approving McMahon's use of extensive leave knowing that it was being done in order to gain sufficient tenure to obtain law enforcement retirement benefits and that McMahon planned to retire at the end of the leave period violated ATF Order 2650.1A, paragraph 27, which prohibits the use of 'terminal leave,'" the report states. "In addition, Torres should have not have approved the use of SL without reconciling the obvious conflict between McMahon's written outside employment request and his SL request. Absent approval by Torres, McMahon's employment by JPMorgan while on SL from his federal government positions would have clearly constituted fraud."

The OIG report was submitted to ATF for appropriate action. I reached out to ATF to see if any consequences have been handed down to ATF supervisors for their approval of McMahon's double salaries.

"We received the summary of findings from the OIG investigation concerning former employee William McMahon's outside employment in 2012," ATF Public Affairs Special Agent Tim Graden tells Townhall. "We will review the report of investigation further and will take appropriate actions as necessary, consistent with applicable policies, laws and regulations."