The state Department of Justice has fired the agent who alleged his supervisor was illegally selling and manufacturing guns without a license and possessed a stolen machine gun.

In an Oct. 10 letter from Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John, Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Dan Bethards was accused of numerous rule and policy violations, many of them related to his allegations of misconduct against his former boss, Jay Smith.

Bethards’ allegations sparked an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In August, authorities declined to press charges against Smith, whom Bethards had accused of making customized weapons without a license for fellow law enforcement agents, including Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Smith supervised Bethards in DCI’s Superior office until it closed in July. The DOJ wouldn’t say if an internal investigation into Smith’s conduct is underway.

“On numerous occasions during the period October 2, 2012, through Sept. 12, 2013, you violated several DOJ and DCI work rules and policies,” according to the letter from St. John. “Of particular concern is the public trust implication of your conduct and statements.

“The position of special agent places the highest expectations of trust in employees to act honestly, reasonably, rationally and responsibly. You have failed to meet those expectations.”

St. John wrote that Bethards’ allegations of illegal activity by Smith were not sincere because he did not report them immediately.

“An agent with high integrity would not sit on this information if he or she believed it to be true,” St. John said.

But in an interview Thursday, Bethards said the delay was caused by his angst over the likelihood of losing his job of 14 years.

“I was struggling with this whole thing for a long time. I knew what this would mean — it would end my career,” he said.

Bethards, a former undercover narcotics agent, said the letter was “full of a lot of garbage” and that he has evidence to refute most of the allegations.

He has filed three complaints with the state Department of Workforce Development claiming retaliation by DOJ under the state whistleblower law. DOJ officials have denied retaliating against Bethards.

Bethards had been on leave since October 2012. He said he took a stress-related break from work as he contemplated whether to report Smith to his superiors and federal officials, which he did in December.

When the DOJ’s psychologist cleared him for duty in late May — saying the stress was caused not by the job but “something external to the job” — the agency immediately put Bethards on paid leave while it investigated unspecified rules and policy violations.

In the letter, St. John said Smith denied Bethards’ most explosive allegation — that he possessed a stolen U.S. government machine gun. He called the allegation “baseless, dishonest, and in violation of numerous DOJ rules and policies.”

But Bethards, a federally licensed gun manufacturer, stands by the charge, saying Smith had asked him to procure parts for a stolen machine gun. He also noted that the letter made no mention of his allegations that Smith was manufacturing and selling guns without a license.

The letter also criticized Bethards for alleging to other agents and to the media that DOJ was “covering up” for Smith.

“DCI management was not engaged in a cover up,” St. John wrote, saying the agency notified the ATF as soon as Bethards came forward with his allegations.

But Bethards said he told fellow agents and the press about the allegations only after months went by and DOJ failed to launch an internal investigation against Smith.

“Where do you go to when the top cop in the state turns his head and does nothing?” Bethards asked.

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milton's fried man
milton's fried man

Interesting thing about having a federal firearms license is that having one forces the licensee to open his or her business and home to search without notice 24/7. Doesn't sound too much like BATF bothered to look for the machine gun or the disputed manufacturing facility( dudes basement or garage no doubt) . Looks like the Feds and state were happy to take this guys word that he wasn't making guns or in possession of a machine gun. That my friends is very odd and completely out of character for either the state who should have referred the guy to BATFE and BATFE itself which is at best the most fascistic law enforcement agency in this country. The fix is in boys

witness2012
witness2012

They protected Smith and threw Bethards under the bus. I hope he sues- it's the only way he can get justice and we can clean up the cesspool that the DOJ has become under Van Hollen.

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

You got that right!

lute
lute

"...customized weapons without a license for fellow law enforcement agents, including Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen"

It would be interesting to know exactly what Van Hollen ordered. Maybe a gold-plated fully automatic assault rifle with an ivory stock and pistol grip? Maybe some special engraving? LOL. These guys are too much.

milton's fried man
milton's fried man

It was a short barrels 1911 commander style weapon for concealed carry. All you ca say for JB is he ain't got a girlie man glock under his cummerbund

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

There are tapes of these transactions. ALL OF THEM! Coming to a courtroom NEAR YOU!SOON!

Lionheart
Lionheart

People down the food chain complain about wrongdoing. People up the food chain try to hide it. That's not Democrat or Republican OR public vs. private. It's power vs. none. Plain and simple. To blame this on Walker is dumb. And I am no Walker fan.

milton's fried man
milton's fried man

No it's Walkers handmaiden van hollen who should be blamed first and walker second since he's van hollens boss. But in general the people in management in DOJ are covering their butts successfully because walker and van hollen allowed that to happen. They create the culture and of course as van hollen backs away from walkers sinking ship and begins to consider his own future fortunes, he's not Gona want his name associated with the felon who sold him that custom colt commander knockoff he carries under his 1500 dollar suit jacket

Fact Finder
Fact Finder

Well put sir!! You must know JB. There is no way you could have guessed correctly it was a custom Colt Commander knock-off. ;-)

milton's fried man
milton's fried man

You have noticed every screwed up walker supported DOJ action is now attributed to van hollens second in command ever since JB announced he
Needed to devote more time to his family...

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

Jay Smith Demoted, Spankowitz quit the day after his witch hunt was done, Dave Mathews Leaving the agency one year into his job, JB will not run again...............the writing is on the wall! I can't wait for the depositions.......the recordings coming out, The ATF report being made public.......all after sale after sale of firearms made by Smith, sold to them! It's going to take awhile.but in the end.the TRUTH will be heard.

The Truth Fairy
The Truth Fairy

Walker and his cronies have turned this state into the N'awlins of old.

Might I suggest changing our state motto to "The Big Cheesy"?

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

Love it!

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@The Truth Fairy makes a comparison between our twice elected Governor and the cesspool of democrat corruption that was the "N'awlins of old," which you let stand.

I reply depicting the old & new "N'awlins" being what it was/is and named some names, all followed with a "D," and the crimes of which they are guilty, and it gets spiked?

Hmm; no bias there!

The Gotch

hankdog
hankdog

gotch;

The true native sons of the Big Easy don't pronounce it that way. "N'awlins" is strictly for northerners.

firefightn15
firefightn15

Bethards makes loose and wild accusations with the potential to damage one's reputation and job security...done so with a seeming vengeance towards Smith. His approach got him this trouble, not the DOJ, ATF, or as some would suggest, the Republican establishment.

davea
davea

You forgot to end with "Thank you Gov. Walker"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

How are they loose, and wild, allegations.....they are just that>>>>>.allegations........all of which can be proven easily!

firefightn15
firefightn15

Really Badgerfan352? You're chasing your tail, the allegations obviously held no water. BATF, Wisconsin and Minnesota officials, and the US AG's office out of Minnesota could not find anything easily proven....the AG's office determined that there were no charges that they could file.

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

Anyone IN law enforcement will tell you that just because a case is not prosecuted, does NOT mean a crime was not committed. There are MANY reasons to not prosecute. For example, reluctant witnesses, political reasons, etc. Your post is full of untruths. ( I don't think it's on purpose) The United States AG DECLINED to prosecute! They didn't say a crime or crimes were not committed. They DECLINED prosecution! Stick to putting out fires and I'll stick to the police and law stuff OK?

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

I'll ask the question to all state employees, and most importantly, DCI agents. If after seeing what happened to Bethards, does that make you MORE likely or LESS likely to report crimes or misconduct by public officials in any state agency? All that I ask is an answer directly from your heart. If your answer is LESS, they have won and there is no justice. Thanks for your time.

Fact Finder
Fact Finder

If you have that much faith in government (any government) you sir, are a fool.

Oscar
Oscar

Eventually, the corruption will catch up to the republicans. They will push someone too far. Lawsuits will catch up to these scoundrels. van holler has already backed away from another term. It would be brutally entertaining to watch when they need something. Just to be able to tell walker and company "Pick yourself up by your bootstraps" and "Don't worry, the trickle-down economy will bring it to you". I live for the day that I hear that in a cold, nasty blizzard a repub's car breaks down. Freeze to death or accept a ride with a cross-dressing, fairy. After they posted on-line all the personal information (and ran background checks) of all the recall petition signers, they can all rot in hell as far as I am concerned.

disappointedinmiddleton
disappointedinmiddleton

When you make a complaint you are turning information over to see if it needs to be investigated. In other words "I have information that needs to be investigated by the people who are trained to do this to determine if a violation has occurred". Why would anyone get fired for this?! This state has ravaged protection for workers. I gave the DOC information regarding a HIPAA violation. The party I reported admitted she had accessed this information and shared it but DOC said they couldn't prove it and I ultimately lost my job for "harassing a coworker". They act like reporting this information is "the right thing to do" but trust me, think long and hard about the consequences. It will not be pleasant.

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

That'll give this squealer something to think about while he's looking for another job. And another thing: It's good to be the King.

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

SAD!

Stuck In The Middle With You
Stuck In The Middle With You

I hope Mr Bethards has an attorney that will keep the state attorneys tied up with this case for a long time.

trent
trent

Mr Bethards may get his justice but probably not for a long time. I also have and ATF license and understand the stupidity of this whole thing. It is black and white. You make things without the proper license and you are supposed to get smacked. That is the deal when you sign your rights away for such licenses. The rest of us follow the rules and then the connected break them and rub it in our faces. We as a nation either have to enforce the rules or forget then entirely. Be a good widows son or dement.

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

It's especially nice when you have a criminal defense fund for such things.

lute
lute

When the system is broken, there isn't much an attorney, even a really good one, can do to help a client. I think Wisconsin is broken - rules, including the rule of law, no longer apply.

mojo
mojo

This move by the Walker/Van Hollen DOJ will have us (WI taxpayers) paying legal fees, court costs and a settlement for Mr Bethard long after Walker and Van Hollen are gone.

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

TRU DAT!

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

SAD BUT TRUE!

Badgerfan352
Badgerfan352

HE DOES!

geo_
geo_

Who'd a thunk, a republican DA agreeing with Obama as to how to treat truth sayers.

lute
lute

How ironic that there is no justice in the Department of Justice. Reminds me of the baseball coach being fired at UW-Oshkosh earlier this year for blowing the whistle on the administration for financial misconduct. Sometimes honesty and doing the right thing just gets you crushed.

trent
trent

Honesty in this state will get you crucified. Corruption rules and investigative journalism is dead. Say nothing and keep your head down and maybe they will reward the good dog.


davea
davea

How about firing Walker?