Two important government positions currently vacant are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Director and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director roles.
To “build back better,” President Joe Biden must retract support for David Chipman and Tracy Stone-Manning, respectively, and demand they withdraw their nominations immediately.
Both picks are incredibly controversial. One is a brazen partisan and anti-gun zealot gunning for a traditionally apolitical role, while the other reportedly gave cover to an eco-terrorist organization in the 1980’s and deliberately lied about it.
Republicans aren’t alone in their opposition. Three Senators remain mum about support for Chipman, while one key former Obama administration official has retracted support for Stone-Manning to hold the position he once held.
Here’s why Chipman and Stone-Manning shouldn’t be near the jobs they’re interviewing for.
David Chipman: Too Extreme to Head Up Apolitical Bureau
It’s no surprise Mr. Chipman faces an uphill battle for the ATF Director spot.
He has a questionable record, is deceptive about his Second Amendment credentials, works in tandem with gun control organizations, can’t identify an AR-15, and disparages new gun owners.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade association, prefectly summed him up here:
President Biden made a show of talking up Chipman’s 25 years as an ATF agent. The president didn’t explain that those years weren’t without lingering questions. Chipman was “case agent in [the] Branch Davidian trial” while stationed in Waco, Texas, from 1993 to 1998. Chipman reportedly claimed Branch Davidians downed two helicopters with .50-caliber rounds during the 51-day siege. A U.S House of Representatives report indicated that no helicopters were downed or any crew hurt.
Chipman’s antipathy wasn’t limited to Waco. He derided the 8.4 million first-time gun buyers who purchased a firearm last year for self-protection during the pandemic. Chipman dismissed the buyers as fearful and preparing “for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses.”
As The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski noted, Chipman’s nomination is in limbo and has yet to be scheduled for a full Senate vote. POLITICO observed:
Chipman’s nomination deadlocked in the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of June but can still advance to the Senate floor if the chamber votes to discharge him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who on Sunday raised questions about the National Rifle Association’s spending on ads related to the Chipman nomination, has yet to schedule that floor vote.
Tracy Stone-Manning Facing Growing Bipartisan Opposition
Overseeing 640 million public land acres is no easy feat, and the position itself — especially under Democratic presidential administrations — attracts controversy.
The selection of Tracy Stone-Manning could further imperil the troubled agency.
Daily Caller investigative reporter Andrew Kerr first revealed Stone-Manning’s involvement in an alleged 1989 “tree-spiking” incident in Idaho. In his latest article, Kerr dropped a bombshell report featuring the case’s lead investigator who confirmed her active involvement:
The investigator, Michael Merkley, said in a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation that Stone-Manning was “extremely difficult to work with; in fact, she was the nastiest of the suspects” during the initial stages of his investigation in 1989.
“She was vulgar, antagonistic and extremely anti-government,” Merkley said.
Merkley said that Stone-Manning refused to answer any questions when she was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in 1989. Her refusal to cooperate with his investigation set the case back by many years, according to Merkely.
“Eventually, after further investigation, I discovered that she had known all along who had perpetrated the crimes,” he said.
Bob Abbey, who served as BLM Director from 2009 to 2012 under the Obama administration, rescinded his endorsement of her after these revelations came to light.
“BLM needs a really strong leader,” Abbey told the Daily Montanan. “To put someone in that position that has this type of resume will just bring needless controversy that is not good for the agency or for the public lands.”
These two developments prompted all 10 Senate Republicans sitting on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to unanimously oppose her nomination:
“We do not make this request lightly. Ms. Stone-Manning has made false and misleading statements in a sworn statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources … regarding her activities associated with an eco-terrorist cell whose tree spiking in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest in 1989 put lives at risk.
“We believe that Ms. Stone-Manning’s false and misleading statements, as well as her extremist activities, disqualify her from serving as Director of this important agency.
“Any individual who leads this important agency must have the faith and trust of the American people. Ms. Stone-Manning has violated this trust,” the letter added.
President Biden should heed these U.S. Senators and his fellow Democrats by selecting others in place of Chipman and Stone-Manning at ATF and BLM, respectively.
They would weaponize these bureaus further and target the Biden administration’s political opponents.
Sources: TownHall: Biden’s Controversial ATF, BLM Picks Aren’t Cruising to Confirmation