An independent government watchdog is probing allegations that Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), B. Todd Jones, improperly retaliated against a whistle-blower while working in his current job as a federal prosecutor in Minnesota.
The investigation by the Office of Special Counsel is the latest complication surrounding Jones’ nomination to lead BATFE, a 5000-employee law enforcement agency that targets gun owners, among other things.
Obama nominated Jones on Jan. 16 as part of his broader plan to expand federal gun control following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Carolyn N. Lerner, the head of the Office of Special Counsel, wrote in an April 12 letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that her office has launched an investigation into allegations that Jones retaliated against a subordinate while working as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, a position he has held since August 2009. Jones has worked simultaneously as the ATF’s acting director since August 2011.