Minnesota's U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, who is President Barack Obama's choice to be the next director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, is the subject of a new complaint, the Star Tribune reports.
Jones has previously come under fire from critics both for his work as the acting ATF director and as the leader of the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis.
Now he's being accused of mismanagement, abuse of authority and reprisal against an assistant U.S. attorney for engaging in whistleblowing “or other protected” activity, the Star Tribune reports.
The assistant U.S. attorney who says he was unfairly disciplined is well-regarded prosecutor Jeff Paulsen, sources with direct knowledge of the case told the Star Tribune. The U.S. Special Counsel, an independent agency that examines whistleblower cases, is investigating the charges, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.
Among Jones' other critics is a former director of the FBI’s Minneapolis office who said Jones has “an atrocious reputation among law enforcement” and is “an impediment to federal law enforcement.”
The Star Tribune reports that in an interview in December, Jones had characterized complaints about his office as a reaction to his decision to shift priorities away from street-level crimes to more complicated, time-consuming cases involving drug cartels, white-collar crimes and terrorism cases.
The agency, part of the Justice Department, is supposed to regulate the gun industry, among other responsibilities. But critics say the industry dominates the ATF. The agency has been without a permanent director for six years, dating to the Bush administration, due in part to opposition to nominees for the job by the influential gun lobby.