ATF Accused of Misclassifying Staff, Costing Taxpayers Millions

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is currently embroiled in a significant controversy. Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst allege that the ATF has been misclassifying administrative positions as “law enforcement” for decades, leading to millions of dollars in unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer money.

In a letter addressed to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, with a copy also sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Senators Grassley and Ernst have raised serious concerns about the ATF’s practices. They claim that ATF management was informed as early as 2018 that their long-standing practice of misclassifying non-law enforcement positions violated the law. Despite this, the agency reportedly failed to take corrective action.

The issue first came to light through whistleblowers within the ATF, who revealed the extent of the misclassification. According to the senators, the 91 positions identified by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as misclassified may only represent a fraction of the issue. They suggest that potentially hundreds of ATF employees nationwide could be wrongly classified, having been hired under the same misclassified position descriptions.

The financial implications of this misclassification are staggering. The Senators’ letter highlights that, according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), ATF’s misconduct led to overpaying employees by up to $20 million from 2016 to 2021. However, they argue that the actual cost to taxpayers could be much higher. If even half of the 800 employees in misclassified positions are indeed wrongly classified, the cost over the five-year period could reach nearly $88 million, more than four times the amount identified by the OSC.

In response to these allegations, Senators Grassley and Ernst are demanding a comprehensive evaluation and review by the ATF. They insist that all employees occupying the misclassified position descriptions should be scrutinized, and the review should extend beyond the five years initially considered by the OPM. This move is aimed at understanding the full scope of what they term as the ATF’s “systematic wrongdoing.”

The senators emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency in the use of taxpayer funds. They assert that no amount of waste of taxpayer dollars is acceptable and that taxpayers deserve to know the full extent of funds potentially squandered due to the ATF’s failure to adhere to legal standards.

This development puts the ATF under considerable scrutiny and raises questions about its administrative practices and the oversight of federal agencies. The demand for a thorough investigation underscores the need for transparency and accountability in government spending.

11 responses to “ATF Accused of Misclassifying Staff, Costing Taxpayers Millions”

  1. Mr.H Avatar

    So what else would we expect from a totally unconstitutional federal agency? The atf does not need to be evaluated, it needs to be ABOLISHED. Combined federal, state and local expenditures for atf (or any of its functions) should be ZERO. Defund it completely and shut it down.

  2. William Avatar

    The ATF leadership should be immediately terminated and the salaries of the misclassified employees considered stolen funds. Those funds should be repaid by stripping the money from the ATF budget.

  3. Christopher Pike Bacon Avatar
    Christopher Pike Bacon

    The ATF wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for the IRS creating it as its paramilitary police force acting to shut down moonshiners. Today, it has become the equivalent of the SS.

  4. JimmyinTEXAS Avatar

    The Republicans will blow snot and snort during an investigation, then as the investigation ends they will declare all ATF employees should be reclassified and rehired under the same misclassified position descriptions.

  5. James Greene Avatar

    The ATF is a totally superfluous illegal organization created as a jobs program for former employees during prohibition. From 1920 to 1933 the US government hired hundreds of employees with minimal IQs to enforce laws that should never have been written. When Prohibition was over they realized that these employees would be incapable of finding useful employment in the private sector and that they lacked the needed skills to succeed in the few legitimate federal law enforcement agencies so the created the ATF. Since its inglorious beginning, it has gone downhill and even now as bad as it is they have not yet bottomed out. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco are legal substances and can easily be policed by the local sheriffs in each county. Fire Arms and Explosives are both protected by the constitution with the words “Shall Not Infringe” thus they can’t be regulated by the government legally. Its already against the law to assault or kill anyone by any means so It is obvious to any 12 year the ATF should not exist. I admit that most of the petty tyrants we have in our plethora of government agencies have severe mental acuity disorders balanced by a enormous need for power and control, but the truth remains. The ATF should be abolished and its members perhaps could find work they are capable of in the construction or food service industry. The ATF represents not only a huge waste of tax payer revenues, but a clear and present danger to the Republics of America and Texas. ( I am not suicidal)

    1. John Parsons Avatar
      John Parsons


  6. Oran Howell Avatar
    Oran Howell

    Why can’t we just fire the whole damn ATF and get rid of the waste

  7. April Purvis Avatar
    April Purvis

    I agree.

  8. Aaron Avatar

    Telling a grocery agency to check itself in this day and age is not the paper the order is written on. Is like telling the fox to guard the chicken coop and expecting the chickens to not be harmed.

  9. earl tate Avatar

    so should OSHA IMSHA CORE OF ENGINIERS IRS(fair tax) HOMELAND SECURITY DEPT OF EDU & about ten others -gov get back to constitution -get your nose out of the peoples private lives

  10. Gaylon Avatar

    I read all the above comments and it’s pretty difficult to improve on what has been said. Where do these rats breed? How does anyone become so anti-American? Just ABOLISH THE ATFE! Take their keys and lock them out of their offices. They definitely are NOT Patriots! No Patriot could be involved with the ATFE!

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