Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on Thursday asking what knowledge the Justice Department had of the festering disagreement between the Nevada U.S. Attorney and the Reno-based office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Grassley’s letter asks whether the Justice Department and its Office of Professional Responsibility knew about the growing problems in October 2011. DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz and ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones were copied on the correspondence.
“I have since obtained documents from whistleblowers which indicate that these issues were raised with ATF headquarters and the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) almost a year ago,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Cole. “I am seeking to understand whether Justice Department management was also notified of the problems between ATF and the USAO in Reno, and if so, what actions were taken to rectify these issues.”
Grassley requested copies of all emails pertaining to anyone at the Justice Department headquarters becoming aware of or responding to the issues before Sept. 17, 2012, when Grassley sent letters to ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones and Nevada U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Tuesday that the Reno, Nev., offices of the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have been picking up the slack with firearms cases while the disagreement continues between the local U.S. Attorney and ATF offices.
A recent investigation revealed that in the past year federal prosecutors in Reno have allegedly refused to take gun-related cases sent to them by ATF.