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"Fast and Furious" Failure Fosters Favoritism for Finagling Fed

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fox News, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, and The Hill are all over this one, as they should be. It seems that BATFE’s William McMahon, who, as the agency's Assistant Deputy Director for Field Operations approved its catastrophic and deadly “Fast and Furious” operation, is being allowed to receive his six-figure federal paycheck for nearly half a year, while working full-time as investment bank J. P. Morgan’s executive director for global security and investments in the Philippines.

As the Washington Post reports, "McMahon was one of five ATF officials recently singled out in a congressional report on the botched gun operation. The report alleged that McMahon knew that no safeguards were in place to prevent a large number of guns from getting into Mexico, but he made no effort to stop them." Fox News says "The [double-dipping, two-paycheck] arrangement allows McMahon to retire [from the BATFE] in December with a full government pension."

Congressional investigators into the "Fast and Furious" debacle, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), have asked the BATFE to explain McMahon’s situation, but the agency has said only that McMahon is a full-time employee in the agency, in its Office of Professional Responsibility, no less.

A letter sent by Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa to BATFE says "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."

Meanwhile, the long-awaited report of the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General, on "Fast and Furious," has apparently been completed, and the DOJ has one month to respond to the report’s findings. At that time, the report should be made available to the public.

Thirty years ago, the cover-up of a two-bit burglary of a hotel room was enough to force a U.S. president to resign. In the current administration, though, sins of an incomparably greater magnitude have been rewarded time and again. Reason enough to remember that the presidential election is only 73 days away. And counting.

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