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Archive for July 16th, 2021

Head of FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office Sought USA Gymnastics Job While Failing to Investigate Team Doctor, IG Says

W. Jay Abbott, former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office

By Steve Neavling

W. Jay Abbott, the former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, mulled a potential job leading USA Gymnastics after he failed to properly investigate sexual abuse allegations against the Olympic team’s doctor Larry Nassar, The IndyStar reports.

The discovery comes a day after the Justice Department’s inspector general issued a searing 119-page report accusing Abbott and others within the FBI of mishandling the probe. Abbott, who retired in 2018, also was accused of lying to the inspector general during the internal investigation to “minimize errors made by his office.”

Abbott initially talked with then-president of USA Gymnastics Stephen Penny about a security job at the U.S. Olympic Committee in the fall of 2015, as Nassar continued to abuse young women and children. 

But when Penny resigned in March 2017 over his handling of Nassar allegations, Abbott told an unnamed friend that he was interested in Penny’s vacant job, according to the inspector general report.  

“I also believe it may be in ‘poor taste’ or ‘unprofessional’ to directly contact [the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors Chairman] regarding the position given the circumstances,” Abbott emailed the friend, according to the report. “However, I do believe that if [the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors Chairman] became aware of my availability and interest in the position that he too would see the potential benefits of my leadership to USAG.”

By pursuing the security job, Abbott violated ethics guidelines, the report stated. Abbott insisted he didn’t apply for the job, but records indicate he did. 

There’s no evidence that Abbott applied for the president’s position. 

Neither Abbott nor his attorney responded to IndyStar’s questions about the job discussions. 

David Chipman’s ATF Nomination Held Up by Uncertain Democrats

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

David Chipman, President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, is facing strong opposition from Senate Republicans and uncertainty among some Democrats. 

Chipman, a gun owner and former ATF agent, is under fire for his support of firearm restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. 

The National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation are putting up a fight to stop Chipman’s nomination and have spent more than $4 million in radio and TV ads in the home states of moderate Democrats and Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile, gun-control groups are putting up a fight of their own. 

“Confronting the epidemic of gun violence head-on is a cornerstone of the president’s gun crime strategy, and he looks forward to the Senate quickly voting on Chipman’s nomination as ATF Director,” Michael Gwin, a White House spokesman, said.

Chipman’s nomination advanced from the Senate Judiciary Committee after a 10-10 vote. But since then, Democrats have not scheduled a confirmation vote because they’re not sure if he has enough support. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., recently said there are “three or four” holdouts among Democrats.

With a 50-50 split in the Senate, every Democrat must support the nomination. 

Sens. John Hickenlooper, Colo. and Jon Tester, D., Mont., have recently indicated they are undecided.