Fast and Furious Official Given Extended Paid Leave While Earning Six Figures at Financial Services Company

August 22, 2012 at 11:08 am (ATF, Bill McMahon, Brian Terry, Chuck Grassley, Darrell Issa, Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, Gun Smuggling, Justice Department, Mexico, President Obama, William McMahon)

In what can only be described as a curious arrangement, a senior official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a man who has been singled out as a top official involved in the gun-running scandal known as Fast and Furious, has been earning paid leave from the bureau while simultaneously drawing an additional six figure salary with a major financial services company.

Bill McMahon was one of five officials named in an indictment that charged him with extensive involvement in the leadership failures of Operation Fast and Furious.  The indictment specifically accused McMahon of giving false Congressional testimony.  An additional report indicated that McMahon knew there were no safeguards in place to prevent a large number of guns from getting across the border, but he still made no effort to stop it.

Now however, two Republican lawmakers are demanding answers as to how McMahon can remain on paid leave while earning another six-figure salary working full time for the investment bank J.P. Morgan.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) have penned a letter to the Department of Justice asking how such an arrangement could be approved.

“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement,” wrote Issa and Grassley. “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 continues: “ATF has essentially facilitated 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.  Moreover, ATF did not wait for the Office of Inspector General to complete its report on Fast and Furious before approving the arrangement.  This is in sharp contrast to the posture the agency has taken with whistleblowers like Special Agent John Dodson, who is 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.”

The full text of the letter can be found here… 

To this date, nobody has been punished for a botched and possibly illegal gun-smuggling operation that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, as well as countless Mexican citizens.

This report simply indicates that the Justice Department not only feels they have nothing to answer to (a mindset facilitated by Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress and the President’s utilization of Executive Privilege), but that they are actually willing to reward those who were directly involved in the operation.

The Justice Department, Eric Holder, and the President continue to dance on the graves of those that their incompetence and corruption killed.

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While America Struggles Economically, Judges Host Hawaiian Conference That Could Exceed $1 Million

May 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm (9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, Chuck Grassley, Economy, GSA, Hawaii, Jeff Sessions, Zumba)

Republicans are blasting the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for planning a conference which could exceed $1 million in expenses.  The National Review calls the 9th Circuit, “That bastion of Left Coast legal liberalism”, and explains that the conference is being labeled as a meeting to discuss “the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit.”

For some reason, such a meeting must be held in a posh resort in Maui, and must feature golf and tennis tournaments, Zumba dance lessons, surfing and yoga.

A group of judges dancing to Zumba at a $1 million clip.  This is ‘the business of the courts’?

From the Hill:

Two senior Senate Republicans on Monday blasted plans by judges in the 9th Circuit to hold a conference in Hawaii this August that they said could run up a tab of $1 million or more, and includes a schedule of sport fishing, yoga, surfing lessons and Zumba dancing lessons.

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) last week wrote to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski to warn that the Hawaii meeting does not appear to fit with the 9th Circuit’s own opinion that the federal budget is tight. The letter was sent just weeks after Republicans took the General Services Administration (GSA) to task for a notorious $800,000 conference that led several GSA officials to resign.

“We are concerned about the overall cost of this conference and do not believe that discussions about the administration of justice would be less successful were they held somewhere other than a spa and resort in Hawaii,” the senators wrote. The letter adds that while conference organizers note that government funds are not to be used for recreation, the conference program “reads more like a vacation than a business trip to discuss the means of improving the administration of justice.”

According to a website announcing the conference, the meeting is authorized by law to consider “the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit.” According to the schedule, it opens Sunday, Aug. 12, with a golf tournament, and includes a tennis tournament on Tuesday and an ice cream social and garden tour on Wednesday, among various meetings and panels held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.

Read the rest here… 

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Attorney General Holder to Testify Feb. 2 on DOJ’s Response to Operation Fast and Furious

January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm (Chuck Grassley, Congress, Darrell Issa, Department of Justice, Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

Even I think I should resign…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been scheduled to testify on February 2 about the Department of Justice’s knowledge of, and response to, gunwalking that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious.  The Attorney General will be asked to address management deficiencies within the Department that occurred both during and after the conclusion of Operation Fast and Furious.  This will include the Department’s steadfast refusal to disclose information following the February 4, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley, which the Department has withdrawn because it contained false information denying allegations made by whistleblowers about Operation Fast and Furious. The committee’s investigation has found documentation that numerous members of the Justice Department knew the letter to Congress contained false information both before it was sent and later withdrawn.

“The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful,” said Chairman Issa.  “From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew.  Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.”

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley have led the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.  In December 2011, the Justice Department explicitly informed the Committee that it would not deliver subpoenaed documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious created after February 4, 2011.  In interviews with committee investigators, senior Justice Department officials who had management responsibilities for Operation Fast and Furious have also refused to answer questions about decisions and conversations that occurred after February 4, 2011.

The hearing will occur in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.  The start time has yet to be determined.

For more information about the committee’s investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, visit the website at www.FastandFuriousinvestigation.com.

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