“Senior administration officials” have told the New York Times that the Trump Administration plans to strip out the tobacco and alcohol enforcement roles from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. These functions would be returned to the Treasury Department as BATFE has ignored cigarette smuggling and bootlegging in favor “fighting violent crime”.
Under the Trump administration’s plan, the Treasury Department would inherit the authority to investigate tobacco and alcohol smuggling. The A.T.F. would need a new name. One possibility: the Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms, or A.E.F.
The move would resolve a bureaucratic split that has existed for years. Treasury collects the taxes on cigarettes and liquor, but A.T.F. investigates efforts to evade those taxes.
The change is included in a draft of President Trump’s coming budget proposal, according to two senior administration officials. The plan envisions hiring roughly two dozen Treasury agents, plus auditors and support staff, the officials said. Congress would have to pass a law to reorganize the agencies.
The officials who discussed the proposal did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it in draft form. Though budget plans can change, the officials said the A.T.F. language has remained in place through multiple revisions.
Spokespersons for BATFE and the Treasury Department did not respond to requests for comments.
A quick check of CleanUpATF.org shows no comments on the proposed change.
I’m sure this proposal will be the source of some speculation at this coming week’s SHOT Show. If I pick up anything juicy or earth-shattering, I’ll share it here as an update.
H/T Stephen Wenger’s DUF list