By Sarah Wheaton
WASHINGTON — The White House thinks the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is doing such a great job, they’re planning to demote him.
The unusual move allows the administration, which has said fighting gun violence is a top priority, to avoid a nasty confirmation hearing for a troubled agency.
The Obama administration has no plans to name a permanent director for the agency, and career agent Thomas Brandon has been serving as the acting chief since April. But by law, he can’t hold that interim title for longer than 120 days, and that clock runs out on Oct. 27.
Brandon confirmed to POLITICO on Wednesday that he has agreed to stay on while re-assuming his previous title of deputy director – but still serving as the agency’s highest-ranking official.
“We’re not going to nominate you, but we have full confidence in you if you stay at the ATF,” said Brandon, recounting the explanation he received from the White House.
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