A key figure in the Fast and Furious gunrunning debacle is on paid leave from the government at the same time that he is picking up a six figure salary from a new job, two Republican leaders charged on Wednesday.
Bill McMahon, one of five officials named in Congress’ initial report on the scandal, is now working for J.P. Morgan in the Philippines, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa claimed.
Now the two are asking questions as to how McMahon could be allowed to double-dip with his new job.
“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement,” Grassley and Issa wrote to Todd Jones, the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Grassley of Iowa and Issa of California said a senior ATF official confirmed to them that McMahon “has recently obtained full-time employment in the private sector,” serving as executive director of the Global Security and Investigations Group at J.P. Morgan in the Philippines.
“This unusual arrangement is apparently designed to allow Mr. McMahon to reach retirement eligibility while on extended leave for four or five months and simultaneously begin a second career before separating from government employment,” they wrote to Jones.
“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.”
McMahon was the ATF’s deputy assistant director for field operations. In their initial report released in July, Issa and Grassley — who have led Republican investigations into Fast and Furious — said he “rubber-stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them.”
Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and Grassley the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Jones 22 specific questions about authorization for McMahon’s new job and his current employment with ATF. They asked for answers by September 4.
Fast and Furious was a scheme in which the ATF was told to stand by and allow guns to be bought in the United States and smuggled across the border into Mexico. The idea was that the weapons would be tracked and lead investigators to drug cartel kingpins.
However, the trace of nearly all the guns was lost and they have been used in the commission of hundreds of crimes on both sides of the border, and have been linked to the death of two federal agents.
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