Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and two Nevada lawmakers want answers from the Attorney General on why as many as a dozen cases were apparently left untouched by the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s office in what became a festering working relationship with the Reno-based ATF office.
Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was joined by Sen. Dean Heller (R) and Rep. Mark Amodei (R) in pressing for more details on the breakdown of cooperation between the two law enforcement offices in Nevada.
“The Justice Department has yet to respond to any of Congress’ questions about what happened in Reno for more than a year,” Grassley said in a statement. “It’s an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Justice Department, and if these crimes weren’t prosecuted, whether because of actions of the U.S. Attorney or the ATF, the people of Nevada should know why.”
The issues between the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office, headed by Dan Bogden, and the Reno office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to light a few weeks ago after an investigation by the Reno Gazette Journal. The paper published a story last week that said the U.S. Attorney’s office declined or dismissed a number of firearms cases sent to them by ATF in Reno.
The reasons for the strained relationship are not entirely clear, but the Gazette Journal did report that virtually all of the Reno ATF agents have since transferred out of the office due to an inability to work with the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The Department of Justice owes Nevadans an explanation and a solution,” Amodei said in a statement. “That it has failed to provide either, let alone demonstrate a sense of concern or urgency, is disappointing. I will continue to work with Senators Grassley and Heller to ensure this problem receives the attention it deserves.”
Last month, Grassley asked for more information from Bogden and ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones.
“The United States Attorney’s Office in Nevada is accepting, for review and potential prosecution, all cases and matters referred to it by ATF. The United States Attorney’s Office and ATF are reviewing the allegations and will work to address any issues that could impact the effectiveness of their law enforcement efforts to protect the public from violent crime,” Bogden and Jones s aid in a joint statement in September.