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Conflict Of Interest: Arizona Lawmakers To Call For Sen. Mark Kelly To Recuse From ATF Vote Over Giffords Ties

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Republicans in the Arizona legislature are gearing up to demand Arizona Democrat U.S Sen. Mark Kelly recuse himself from the confirmation vote for David Chipman, President Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) director nominee, for his leadership ties to a gun-control group where Chipman is a lobbyist.

Rep. Quang Nguyen is leading the legislative effort, The Federalist has learned, and he plans to introduce the proclamation Thursday with the backing of other lawmakers. Nguyen notably raises concerns about Kelly’s ability to vote in an uncompromised manner since Chipman works for Giffords, an anti-gun organization founded by Kelly and his wife Gabby Giffords in 2013. 

We “DEMAND U.S. Senator Mark Kelly recuse himself from a confirmation vote,” the proclamation states. “Chipman’s current employment at Giffords, an organization co-founded by Senator Kelly, raises serious ethical questions regarding this vote and presents a clear and credible conflict of interest that puts the constitutional rights of Americans in jeopardy.”

Spokesman Hilton Beckham for Andy Biggs, the Republican congressman from Arizona, told The Federalist Biggs supports the legislature’s effort urging Kelly to recuse himself.

Kelly’s group spent close to $7 million to elect Democrats in 2018 and Kelly individually received $5,706 in funding from Giffords as a 2020 candidate. The Arizona Democrat claimed on his website, “This campaign is about the people of Arizona, not corporate PACs and the mess they’ve created in Washington,” but refused to notify OpenSecrets at the time about what his level of involvement with Giffords would look like in the future. 

Chipman is still employed by Giffords. His resume in the congressional record highlights this, as well as his affiliation to Kelly. It specifies Chipman is a “[s]enior advisor to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Giffords” and is “[c]harged with providing firearms policy training to members of Congress, gun violence prevention advocates and other groups impacted by gun violence.”

Chipman also affirmed his current employment while testifying.

“Yes,” the ATF nominee told Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. “I am currently employed by Giffords and have

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