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ATF official collects paid leave and private-sector salary, lawmakers charge

Aug. 22, 2012 - 05:49PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., charge that a former ATF official is on paid leave while drawing a salary from his new job.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., charge that a former ATF official is on paid leave while drawing a salary from his new job. (Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

A top Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official is on paid leave and simultaneously drawing a second salary from J.P. Morgan, according to an Aug. 22 letter sent by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to acting ATF Director Todd Jones.

William McMahon, former deputy assistant director for field operations, stepped down Aug. 1 after lawmakers questioned his role in Operation Fast and Furious, according to Grassley and Issa. Fast and Furious was a controversial ATF investigative operation that allowed hundreds of guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers and other criminals along the southwest border.

The “unusual arrangement” granting McMahon four to five months of extended leave allows him to reach retirement eligibility and begin a second career before formally leaving government employment, the lawmakers said.

“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,” they wrote.

“Rather than imposing consequences for his admitted failures, the ATF appears to be rewarding McMahon,” they said.

McMahon is now the executive director of the Global Security and Investigations Group at J.P. Morgan in the Philippines, according to the lawmakers. The letter cites McMahon’s government salary as “six figure” and his J.P. Morgan salary as “even larger.”

Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, call on Jones to provide a variety of information to explain why McMahon was allowed to take extended leave.

“This is not the culture of change that you promised to bring to ATF,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

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