Grassley asks DOJ watchdog for records after ATF nominee Chipman accused of racial bias

Grassley asks DOJ watchdog for records after ATF nominee Chipman accused of racial bias

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday requested that the Department of Justice hand over records that may corroborate a complaint of racial bias levied at David Chipman, President Biden’s nominee for the top job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

In a letter to the Office of Inspector General, Grassley accused Chipman of exhibiting “a pattern of extremely concerning racially biased behavior,” after a Black former ATF agent accused the president’s nominee of targeting him in a years-long investigation for allegedly cheating on a test.

The former agent, who has remained anonymous, told The Reload Wednesday that he was punished after doing well on an exam that tested agents on how to combat rising gun crime because Chipman was unaware of his background in anti-violence programs.

BIDEN ATF NOMINEE CHIPMAN ACCUSED OF RACIAL BIAS FOR CLAIMING BLACK ATF AGENT CHEATED ON EXAM

“I believe it had to have been a bias,” the former agent said. “My answers were just ‘too good.’ And my thought is he just said, ‘this Black guy could not have answered this well if he wasn’t cheating.'”

Grassley said his office had received “whistleblower reports” that suggested Chipman filed a complaint with the DOJ that prompted a two-year investigation and “significantly impeded the African American ATF employee’s career by barring him from promotion and commendations.

“The only indication that the examinee had cheated was that his answers to the hypothetical questions posed by the panel were ‘just too good’,” Grassley said. 

The former agent was reportedly cleared of all accusations but said the years-long investigation caused him and his family great stress. 

Last month, Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans urged Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., to call the ATF nominee in for a second hearing, following other accusations of “racists comments” directed at fellow ATF employees.

Grassley said the accusations levied by an anonymous former ATF agent in June had been “corroborated” and accused Chipman of unfavorably commenting on the number of Black agents passing their exams.

DURBIN DOUBLES DOWN SUPPORT FOR CONTROVERSIAL ATF NOMINEE CHIPMAN AS MODERATE DEMS STILL UNDECIDED

While serving as assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit Field Division, Chipman reportedly said, “Wow, there were an unusually large number of African American agents that passed the exam this time. They must have been cheating.” 

But Grassley said the Wednesday allegations go “even further by providing evidence that Mr. Chipman acted upon alleged racial animus to effectively end the career of a longtime law-enforcement agent.”

Fox News could not immediately reach the White House for comment. 

But the Department of Justice confirmed for Fox News that Chipman had registered a complaint that alleged an ATF agent potentially cheated in a 2007 exam.

“Chipman served as an assessor for many ATF candidates of all backgrounds — and only once, in 2007, raised a concern about potential cheating by an individual to supervisors. Those concerns were considered serious enough that the inspector general decided to investigate them,” a DOJ spokesperson said.

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“Any allegations of bias against David Chipman are false, and in the two times he was the subject of a workplace complaint over a 25-year career at the ATF, the claims were thoroughly investigated and found to be meritless.”

Fox News could not immediately reach Durbin’s office to confirm whether the chairman will hold a second hearing for Chipman.