Former Minnesota US Attorney Todd Jones has been confirmed by the Senate to be permanent director of the BATFE. Despite concerns over Jones' record as US Attorney, the Senate voted 53-42 for confirmation. Among the "ayes" were Mark Kirk (R-IL.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-ME.), Lindsay Graham (R-SC.), John McCain (R-AZ.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
The Bureau has been without a permanent director since Carl Truscott left under a shadow of ethics and budget violations in 2006. Despite the Bureau having to skimp on things like routine vehicle maintenance, he felt it necessary to spend $300,000 redecorating his office. He had served only 2 years.
Since then, the Bureau has had three acting directors. Former Acting Director Kenneth Melson resigned last year after an OIG report laid a great deal of responsibility for the Fast & Furious debacle at his feet. Jones has been serving in that capacity since.
The NRA opposed (and defeated) Andrew Traver's confirmation in 2009, but they've been largely quiet on Jones. They appear to have remained neutral on the issue this time around.
Does this change much of anything? Not really. The distinction between an acting director and a permanent one is really just a matter of title. Basically, the President gets to put a check mark next to the agenda he laid out back in January.
While it would be nice to keep the chair vacant, we need to be looking more at reforming the Bureau as a whole.