Former ATF agents slam Biden nominee's 'divisive gun control agenda'

Republicans have argued Chipman is a gun-control activist who is 'unfit' to lead the ATF

Several former agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are publicly urging the Biden administration not to confirm former agent David Chipman to lead the agency.

A total of seven former agents have joined together in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee arguing that Chipman does not have the temperament or the experience to lead the agency, according to The Reload.

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"Having been at the Bureau at the same time as Mr. Chipman and having followed his career after he left the Bureau, we are very familiar with his leadership style and his approach to leading the agency," the former agents wrote in the letter. "While an agent, David did not exhibit the collaborative and respectful type of leadership required of an agency Director that must manage a diverse workforce with challenging issues. While we can say without hesitation that David is very smart, we can also say without hesitation that he was very often not a team player and had a troubling tendency to think he was always right."

The letter added, "While in the Bureau he never progressed to the Senior Executive Service or to senior leadership within the agency. Putting David in charge of ATF would be like asking a small business owner to lead a Fortune 500 company. Even though he was an ATF agent, David would be the least qualified individual to lead the agency in its history."

Ranking Republican member of the committee Sen. Chuck Grassley received the letter and gave credence to the concerns. 

"The concerns raised by these former agents are serious and very relevant to the committee’s and the Senate’s consideration of Mr. Chipman’s nomination," Grassley told The Reload. "I stand by our request for another hearing and more information. Full transparency is what’s needed."

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Republicans in the Senate have been critical of the potential appointment, including Sen. Thom Tillis, who recently penned an op-ed for Fox News arguing that Chipman is a gun-control activist who has been on the "wrong side" of "every" Second Amendment debate.

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Republicans have asked Democrats leading the committee to hold another hearing with Chipman, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin called the request "baseless" and declined the request.

"ATF needs a Senate-confirmed leader, and Mr. Chipman is well-qualified and has been extensively vetted for the role. He deserves to be confirmed," Durbin said. "And it is my fervent hope that Committee Republicans will quit embracing anonymously-sourced efforts to smear Mr. Chipman."

It is unclear whether or not Chipman has the votes to make it through the evenly split 50-50 Senate, with several Democrats still yet to announce whether or not they support the former ATF agent.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.