President Barack Obama has unveiled an executive action to increase the size and scope of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by hiring 200 new ATF agents and increasing the agency's funding by an additional $4 million in the fiscal year 2017.
Now it seems the president's executive action on guns may have involved political cronyism and campaign-cash paybacks.
Campaign finance records reveal that ATF agents and Department of Justice employees have contributed a stunning $1.8 million to Obama's campaigns, the Democrat party, and other candidates.
Campaign contribution data shared exclusively with me by Crowdpac - a non-partisan political data site based in Silicon Valley - show that since 2004, 2,253 DOJ employees have donated $1.74 million and 68 donors from the ATF have contributed $68,000.
The federal employees rated a liberal score. DOJ employee donations ranked a "4.9L" on Crowdpac's scale of liberal to conservative (10L is the most liberal on the left, 0 is neutral, and 10C is the most conservative on the right). ATF employees ranked a "3L."
The politics inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) skews liberal along with its parent agency, the Department of Justice. (Crowdpac)
The campaign donors are identifiable because they listed either the ATF or DOJ as their employer and/or occupation. All of the campaign contribution data is publicly available.
The DOJ campaign contributions are not terribly surprising; after all, Attorney General Eric Holder (whose agency also oversees the ATF) is a close personal friend of President Obama; therefore, it would stand to reason his staff would contribute.
However, the individual ATF employee contributions may surprise Americans who conjure up images of Constitutionally-sworn agents who, at a minimum, should respect the proper role of the Second Amendment.
Now, gun owners are suspicious about the expanded role the agencies will play in Obama's new executive action.
The president announced that under his new plan, ATF agents will gain more responsibilities including "to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network" which opponents of gun control believe could help government track citizens' guns and ammunition.
The president's proposal mirrors an internal DOJ memo obtained by the National Rifle Association and reported by Bearing Arms in which advisers suggested that a national registry of firearms would be the only true path to gun control.
Obama's unpopular push for gun control is just the latest move to beef up federal agencies.
Democrats have long been seeking to put the ATF "on steroids."
In 1993, then-Vice President Al Gore proposed to merge the agency with the more-powerful Federal Bureau of Investigations which has the manpower, technology and jurisdiction to conduct investigations into the everyday lives of Americans.
Although Democrats have complained about the ATF's lack of funding in the past, the president's new staffing and budget plan has the ATF emerging as the clear winner of Obama's executive action.
See what a few campaign dollars can buy among friends?
One thing is certain, before President Obama hands over millions more in taxpayer funds to his campaign supporters, Congress and the American people have a right to "follow the money" even if the cold, hard, campaign cash leads to the ATF's front door.
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