ATF Whistleblower Exposes Rampant Fraud

ATF agents

WASHINGTON D.C.-( A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) whistleblower exposed Bureau administrative employees fleecing the American taxpayers for possibly millions of dollars.

The whistleblower only identified as Joe told CBS that multiple employees filed for and received “LEAP” pay even though they did not qualify for the bonus scale. LEAP stands for “Law Enforcement Availability Pay.” It is meant for paying law enforcement officers for on-call hours where they are required to work long and odd hours. The pay is not meant for non-law enforcement employees of the ATF, and non-LEO is expressly prohibited from collecting the income. The ATF pays a rate of 25% over base pay. If an employee makes a base salary of $100,000, that officer could be paid $125,000 with LEAP pay.

“If you were functioning in an administrative capacity, you don’t qualify for the pay. So, you’re not supposed to get it,” Joe said. “A lot of people were getting it.”

In 2016, the whistleblower noticed the problem of administrative employees claiming LEAP pay shortly after taking a job as an information specialist in the ATF’s Human Resources department. Joe reported the violations to his supervisors. Instead of rewarding him for finding fraud, his employee review was downgraded from “fully successful” to “minimally successful.” Last summer, the ATF fired Joe for “unacceptable performance,” which he believes was retaliatory for his discoveries.

Last year, a lawyer for the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) claimed the agency found “a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing.” The OSC is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose mission is to investigate whistleblower’s claims.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) performed an audit on ATF employees filing for and receiving LEAP pay. The audit turned up at least 94 employees that collected LEAP pay when they were not entitled to the money. OPM stated that the ATF engaged in “prohibited personnel practices.” OPM suspended the ATF’s ability to create specific jobs for “no less than six months.”

OPM did not state the fate of the ATF employees that defrauded American taxpayers out of taxpayer’s money. It is not known of any disciplinary action or if the employees were forced to pay back the money. The exact amount of funds incorrectly paid out to administrative employees is also not known. It is also not known for how long the fraud has been going on inside the Bureau.

A recent AmmoLand News story recently highlighted a leaked video conference call where Acting Director Marvin Richardson announced the ATF’s goal to double in size over the next five years. Many in the gun world worry that this goal, along with the mismanagement of current funds, could affect gun rights and waste money that could be used for things like clearing out the NFA backlog.

Some gun rights groups and government waste watchdogs see this uncovered fraud as yet another example of an out-of-control agency abusing its power and changing the rules as it sees fit. Many believe that the ATF works outside the law by changing definitions to meet its political goals and sees the firing of Joe as internal political payback.

The ATF did not respond to AmmoLand’s request for comments.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at

John Crump

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