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BOSTON �� A handful of Republican U.S. Senators continue to block the nomination of U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Michael Sullivan to helm the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Sullivan has been ATF’s acting director since September 2006 and continued his role as U.S. attorney since that time. Sullivan became the Massachusetts U.S. attorney on September 19, 2001. Last March, the White House announced plans to nominate Sullivan for the top job at ATF. The appointment process has stalled, at least in part because of political battles about how the agency should enforce gun laws. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig, both Republicans, are among a few Senators that have placed a hold, or an objection to moving ahead with a vote, on Sullivan’s nomination because of concerns about the agency’s regulatory actions. Crapo and Craig met with Sullivan on Dec. 4 and penned a follow-up letter on Jan. 22 to outline their ongoing concerns. The Senators said that their constituents have complained that ATF treats small gun dealers “more aggressively” than large dealers and is “inflexible when dealers make very minor, unintended paperwork errors.” The senators also want to know Sullivan’s view about what ATF’s policy should be for tracing firearms that haven’t been seized as evidence for a crime. Craig has concerns about how AFT has been handling enforcement against small firearms dealers and the nomination process is a good time to get those issues resolved, said his communications director Dan Whiting. “Nominations are a way for senators to help with the oversight of agencies,” Whiting said. Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts, said Sullivan respects the process “and the critical role that the United States Senate plays.” “He fully appreciates, and has the highest regard for, the important role that they play in providing consent to the President of the United States,” DiIorio-Sterling said. “I also know that he will continue to be responsive to all questions or concerns by the Senate.”

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