Republican lawmakers investigating the Obama administration’s deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking scandal want to know why one of the top disgraced figures at the center of the scheme — William McMahon, who may soon be prosecuted for perjury — is now on “paid leave” collecting a six-figure paycheck while working full-time for banking giant J.P. Morgan overseas. The revelations of “double dipping” and the looming potential prosecution represent the latest chapters in an ongoing saga that countless analysts have dubbed Obama’s “Watergate.”
In an August 21 letter to Acting Director Todd Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded an explanation, saying the legality of the controversial arrangement was unclear but the absurdity of the decision was not. Former ATF Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations McMahon was named in a recent congressional report as one of five key figures at the agency responsible for “Fast and Furious.”
The first part of the official report on the scandal detailed McMahon's "admitted failure to read important documents he was responsible for authorizing and his false testimony regarding his role in authorizing applications for wiretaps in the case," lawmakers said in the letter. They were referring to his part in Fast and Furious and the subsequent cover-up.
The federal scheme provided thousands of high-powered weapons to Mexican drug cartels at taxpayer expense under the guise of “investigating” drug smugglers, though the two primary supposed targets of the investigation were later exposed as “untouchable” FBI assets. Official e-mails later revealed that the Department of Justice was using the fallout to push for more infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.
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Photo of JP Morgan branch: AP Images