Madam President, I rise today in support of the nomination of Todd Jones to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. I want to first thank Senator Coons for his remarks about Samantha power. I'm looking to the vote on her confirmation and looking forward to her service.
This is a very important job, Madam President. As you know, the ATF has an incredibly important role in investigating crimes and terrorist incidents like the Boston marathon bombing. They just recently investigated the explosion in Texas that took so many innocent lives. This must be a top priority for the United States of America.
Yet this is a position where there are 2,400 ATF agents and they have gone without a permanent director, Madam President, for seven years, ever since this became a confirmable position. This happened under President Bush. There wasn't a confirmed director. And it is happening now up until today under President Obama. It is time to change that. It is simply time to change it.
Now, I know Todd Jones. For two years he has served as the US Attorney of Minnesota at the same time he is serving as the ATF Director. That is not an easy job. He has five children. He's a former marine. And he was willing to take on the ATF ob after the Fast and Furious debacle. He was willing to come in after that and help to clean up that agency and make some very tough decisions. He took on that job while still remaining the US Attorney in Minnesota.
I would note, Madam President, that he served as the US Attorney in Minnesota under President Clinton and then again was appoint to serve under President Obama. And then two years ago he was asked to be the acting director of ATF, never knowing if this day would ever come when actually there would be a vote on his confirmation. He literally has never turned down a tough assignment.
Todd Jones has an impressive background that makes him well prepared to lead the ATF. After law school at the University of Minnesota, he entered the US Marine Corps, as i noted, where he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate and infantry officer from 1983-1989. Two years later, he was called back to active duty during the first Iraq War.
In addition to his military career and having the rare distinction of serving as US Attorney under two different presidents, Jones also has a strong record as a line prosecutor in the Minnesota US Attorney's office. When Jones was US Attorney in Minnesota from 1998-2001, I would note that the violent crime rate decreased by 15% and so far during his second tenure as US. Attorney, the violent crime rate in Minnesota has already decreased by 9%.
And we all know, as you know from Wisconsin, there are a lot of factors that go into that, including the great work of our local police officers and including the work of our police chiefs, including the work of community groups, including the economy. There are a number of things in hand. But when I hear attacks against Mr. Jones, I believe it's important to set the record straight.
And one other thing, Madam President. I did want to set the record straight on one of the things, and I so appreciate the leadership Senator Grassley has shown when it comes to whistle-blowers. But you should know, regarding this complaint within the of office, an internal complaint within the US Attorney's office in Minnesota, it was investigated by the Judiciary Committee and in this place, to set the record straight, the complainant voluntarily agreed to mediate his concerns and the Office of Special Counsel is no longer investigating. So I want to make that straight for all of my colleagues so they understand the outcome of that and that there is mediation going on and it's not being investigated.
As an assistant US Attorney, Todd Jones was the lead prosecutor in a number of cases involving drug conspiracies, money laundering, financial fraud, and violent crime in the early 1990's. In the private sector, he became a partner at two very well-regarded Minnesota law firms, Robins-Kaplan and Greene-Aspault.
He has led a number of very important prosecutions in his capacity as US Attorney. Operation Rhino, which involved the criminal prosecution of Amdi Mohammed who recruited young Somali americans to fight in Somalia. To date, this investigation has resulted in charges filed against 2 other individuals. Operation Brothers Keeper, a major RICO case, the second biggest ponzi scheme in the history of america, second only to the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. Prosecuted by the US Attorney's office, by a fine prosecutor named Joe Dixon and many others, under Todd Jones' leadership. This gives you a sense.
And I would end with this, as I see Senator Leahy, our great chairman, is here. Jones' confirmation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Chiefs of Police, 81 US Attorneys, the National District Attorney's Association, Minnesota's former FBI Special Agent in Charge, Ralph Bolter, the former US Attorney, Tom Heffelfinger, who served under both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush in Minnesota, and dozens of others who have worked with Mr. Jones over his many years of public service.
I would end with this, Madam President. The ATF has people on the frontline every day and they don't ask if the work they've done is ordered by a Republican or a Democrat. They don't – when they go to investigate a bombing, they don't ask what other police officers what their political affiliation is or who the FBI is. They don't care. They just do their job. Well, now it is time for the Senate, the United States Senate, to do its job and confirm an ATF Director for the first time in seven years. I thank the chairman for his leadership. I yield the floor.