ATF nominee B. Todd Jones may have gone after whistle-blowers.

This second term just isn’t going well for Barack Obama, is it?

An independent Justice Department watchdog is probing allegations that President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, B. Todd Jones, improperly retaliated against a whistle-blower while working in his current job as a federal prosecutor in Minnesota.


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.

There’s also some questions about what Jones’ role was in the administration’s cover-up of its recent gunrunning scandal – sorry: the administration’s recent gunrunning scandal involving Mexico; there’s been more than one – and his general ability or inability to run an office.  If you’re wondering why any of this matters, given that the administration could theoretically simply bull the nomination through at this point – well, that’s a good question.  As the Hill notes, Obama’s idea of supporting B Todd Jones’ nomination was to… give a speech.  In February.  And then go play golf, I suppose*.  Senate Democrats have since proven somewhat… lackadaisical… in jumping on this, which suggests that perhaps the concerns that Grassley and other Senate Republicans are having are in fact somewhat justified.

Guess we’ll see.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: I wonder if this is the REAL reason why Nicholas Kristof deleted that post-Boston Marathon bombing tweet criticizing the Senate for not moving on Jones’ nomination? Interesting question, I think.

*You should probably expect a good deal more of this: Barack Obama has never been in this kind of situation before.  His legislative career to date has been: get elected; fiddle around a bit and muddle about; get bored; and run for higher office.  Obama’s got nowhere higher to go and get run again, so he’s stuck with us just as much as we’re stuck with him…