N.Y. Times: A.T.F. used secret account to rent Bristol race suite

According to a report in the New York Times, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “used a secret, off-the-books bank account to rent a $21,000 suite” to watch a race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The track was not accused of doing anything improper.

The Times reported Tuesday morning that the A.T.F. account was “created by agents based in Bristol, Va., who were investigating tobacco smuggling. One government official said the bureau regarded the account as a hybrid of government funds and private money, a combination that is not authorized under federal law.”

According to the Times report, the A.T.F. rented a 16-person suite for the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol in 2012, which the newspaper reported: “had no obvious connection to law enforcement operations.”

“A.T.F. agents, along with some community members, used the suite in 2012 for the Irwin Tools Night Race, a NASCAR event, according to two people who worked closely with the bureau at the time,” the newspaper reported. “A receipt obtained by The Times shows the suite cost $21,000.”

The Times said it had contacted the A.T.F. about the account.

“The A.T.F. did not answer any of a list of questions about its policies and the expenses, not even whether management accounts remain in use and, if not, whether they were ever considered legal,” the paper reported.

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