ATF’s Big Money Scandal


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Yesterday the New York Times reported that agents from the Bristol, VA office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had a secret off-the-books bank account. In theory, it was to investigate tobacco smuggling. (The cigarette tax in New York is $4.35 per pack, and NYC slaps on another $1.50. The cigarette tax in Virginia is 30¢ per pack. So smuggling is a big business.)

Instead this secret account was used for … other things. They include paying credit card bills, donations to schools, a trip to Vegas, and 21 grand to rent a 16-person suite at Bristol Motor Speedway for a NASCAR race. Oh, and they used fake shipping documents to conceal the whole thing.

Obviously this is super illegal. The account was made up of private money, which is also illegal. And the ATF refuses to say who authorized the account. The guys they’ve been able to pin it on say their authorization from above was verbal. Not only are there criminal laws being broken here, but it’s part of federal racketeering litigation brought by a tobacco cooperative.

In other words: this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

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There are 8 comments.

  1. I Walton Member

    That’s almost as scandalous as imposing such a tax and then trying to stop contraband from the supply side.

    • #1
    • April 12, 2017, at 3:44 PM PDT
  2. Ford Penney Inactive

    “Trust us, we’re from the government, we’re here to help… ourselves”

    • #2
    • April 12, 2017, at 4:54 PM PDT
  3. Fritz Member

    So when was this account set up? My money (pun intended) would be on 2009 or later . . . just a wild-a** guess.

    • #3
    • April 12, 2017, at 5:10 PM PDT
  4. Michael Minnott Member

    It’s a standard, government shake-down. Issue fines for violation of arcane regulations. Make it so that fighting the fines is more expensive than paying them, if not futile altogether. Then put the fine money in a slush fund for yourself and/or your political cronies.

    Regardless of which administration this started under, it is another example of why government agencies need more oversight from congress, why regulations should require congressional approval.

    • #4
    • April 12, 2017, at 5:33 PM PDT
  5. SteveSc Member

    Let me guess: the ATFS won’t comment on pending disciplinary actions and the involved employees are entitled to privacy?

    • #5
    • April 12, 2017, at 7:22 PM PDT
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    I don’t know which I object to more, my federal tax dollars going for unauthorized parties and vacations, or being used to make sure that New York smokers are being squeezed to death in taxes.

    • #6
    • April 12, 2017, at 7:25 PM PDT
  7. Kozak Member

    What agency in the FedGov isn’t totally corrupt at this point?

    • #7
    • April 13, 2017, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Ford Penney Inactive

    BTW- how is ‘untaxed’ cigarettes on the streets in New York, or anywhere, a ‘thing’?

    We have unvetted foreign nationals entering the country and posing real threats and this is where we want government to put its best (LOL) efforts.

    • #8
    • April 13, 2017, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • Like