Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin doubled down Monday on his assist for President Biden’s nominee to run the bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) after Republicans requested the committee to carry an additional listening to on David Chipman’s nomination to look at bias allegations in opposition to him.
Durbin, D-Sick., stated the allegations in opposition to Chipman, in a letter led by committee Rating Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are a part of “vitriolic, baseless assaults in opposition to his extremely credentialed nominee.” The committee will not name Chipman again for an additional listening to, Durbin stated.
“ATF wants a Senate-confirmed chief, and Mr. Chipman is well-qualified and has been extensively vetted for the position. He deserves to be confirmed,” Durbin stated in a response letter. “And it’s my fervent hope that Committee Republicans will give up embracing anonymously-sourced efforts to smear Mr. Chipman.”
The feedback come as Chipman’s nomination is stalled within the Senate. He obtained a party-line vote within the Judiciary Committee, which empowers Democrats, who’re within the majority, to discharge his nomination and produce it to the ground for a last vote.
However a number of Senate Democratic Caucus members nonetheless have not publicly introduced whether or not they’ll assist Chipman’s affirmation. They embrace Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.
King continues to be contemplating the nomination, spokesman Matthew Felling instructed Fox Information on Tuesday. So was Tester as of late final month, his spokesman Andy Bixler stated.
“As a proud gun proprietor, Senator Tester believes ATF wants a robust chief to assist the company’s regulation enforcement mission,” Bixler stated. “Senator Tester will proceed to evaluate David Chipman’s report and testimony to make sure he would assist our courageous regulation enforcement officers and respect Montanans’ Second Modification rights.”
Hickenlooper was undecided final month as effectively, the Wall Street Journal reported. And Manchin and Sinema additionally have not publicly taken any stance on Chipman as they have been extremely concerned in negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure invoice in latest weeks.
With a 50-50 Senate, Chipman’s margin for error within the Senate is sort of nonexistent. He’ll nearly actually want all 50 Democrats – and subsequently all 5 of those that are presently undecided – to be confirmed, barring a shock “yea” vote from a Republican. And at the least one average Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has voted for a lot of Biden nominees, already introduced her opposition to Chipman. She referred to as him “unusually divisive.”
The GOP-backed letter Durbin was referring to cited two experiences – one from the Daily Caller and one other from The Reload – that indicated Chipman could have made racist feedback whereas he was an ATF agent. Fox Information has not independently confirmed these allegations. Chipman left the ATF about 9 years in the past and has since labored with gun management teams.
The Republicans’ letter cited two Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC) complaints made in opposition to Chipman whereas he was on the ATF. Fox News previously reported on the existence of the complaints. Throughout his affirmation listening to, Chipman stated these “complaints have been resolved with none discovering of discrimination and no disciplinary motion was taken in opposition to me.”
However the EEO complaints are removed from the one controversy Chipman has confronted throughout his affirmation course of. Final yr on Cheddar News Chipman mocked first-time gun homeowners.
“They may assume that they are die-hard able to go,” Chipman stated of first-time gun homeowners. “However sadly they’re extra like Tiger King and so they’re placing themselves and their households at risk.”
Chipman then stated individuals who purchased weapons throughout a surge in gross sales in early 2020 ought to “safe that gun locked and unloaded and conceal it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky” and “solely deliver that out if the zombies begin to seem.”
The nominee additionally stated in a 2019 Reddit “Ask Me Something” that as a result of individuals who fail background checks whereas attempting to purchase weapons usually later are caught unlawfully utilizing a gun, “This can be a good alternative to arrest individuals earlier than committing crimes.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, referred to as Chipman’s remarks “the kind of factor that is reserved for dangerous post-apocalyptic dystopian novels and films.”
There are additionally allegations in opposition to Chipman that he misplaced his service weapon, though these are nonetheless unverified and the ATF has instructed Fox Information it has no report of Chipman ever misplacing his firearm.
It’s unclear when Chipman’s nomination might come up for a vote within the Senate. It’s unlikely that Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will name a vote earlier than he is aware of Chipman has the votes to be confirmed.
The White Home has remained behind Chipman. Spokesperson Michael Gwin beforehand instructed Fox Information that Chipman “served honorably in regulation enforcement for 25 years – promoted into positions of belief and administration on the ATF, collaborating in advanced investigations, and placing himself in hurt’s method as a member of the Bureau’s SWAT staff.”
Gwin additionally not too long ago instructed the Wall Road Journal that the president “appears to be like ahead to the Senate rapidly voting on Chipman’s nomination as ATF Director.”
Fox Information’ Marisa Schultz and Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.