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Durbin won’t hear racism charges against ATF nominee

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Going on defense for another embattled Biden nominee, a key Senate Democratic leader has rejected a GOP request to hold an emergency hearing to probe allegations that the president’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives nominee used racist language and will demoralize the agency.

Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, not only flicked off the sensational charges published by the Reload about David Chipman, but he accused the publication of having a political agenda to block the nominee for director of the ATF.

After defending Chipman in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators demanding a new hearing, Durbin wrote, “Now comes the latest salvo — a claim published by an anti-gun safety website, allegedly based on the accounts of two anonymous individuals, that Mr. Chipman had made racially discriminatory remarks when he served at ATF. As with the other claims manufactured by Mr. Chipman’s opponents, there is no evidence to support these allegations.”

Stephen Gutowski, who runs the Reload, not only defended his reporting and sources, but he said that the serious allegations against Chipman must be heard.

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“Americans deserve full transparency for the man President Biden wants to lead the ATF. The existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity complaints against David Chipman is not in dispute. ATF agents told me he has been accused of making racist comments. The public deserves to see the contents of the complaints,” he told Secrets.

Chipman is a former ATF official who went to work for the anti-gun Giffords organization. Republicans are concerned he will enact the group's severe gun control and gun-grabbing agenda if he gets into office.

In his earlier story, Gutowski reported that two ATF sources heard of Chipman denigrating black agents while assigned to the agency’s Detroit bureau.

“He made some comments that he was surprised by the number of African Americans who have made it onto a specific promotional list,” an ATF official said. “So his insinuation was that they had to have cheated, which is kind of despicable,” the website reported.

He is hoping that the journalism community goes to bat for the Reload against Durbin’s attack, but he isn’t holding his breath.

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“I'm not surprised to see a politician attack a reporter's work in an attempt to distract from allegations made against a nominee he supports. I will be interested to see if this attack engenders the kind of pushback from the journalism community that it did when it was used by Republicans to defend their interests,” Gutowski said.

“I've defended reporters from outlets across the spectrum when they've been unfairly maligned. We'll see if that goodwill is repaid or not in this case. Either way, I will continue to believe pushing back on attacks against reporters by powerful government officials shouldn't be a tribalist pursuit,” he added.

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Tags: Washington Secrets, Dick Durbin, Biden Administration, ATF

Original Author: Paul Bedard

Original Location: Durbin won’t hear racism charges against ATF nominee

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