An independent government watchdog agency is investigating allegations that President Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives retaliated against employees for whistle-blowing, has learned.

The allegations against B. Todd Jones, a Minnesota federal prosecutor who also is serving as acting director of the ATF while his nomination is pending, include claims that he mismanaged the prosecutor’s office and presided over a “climate of fear.” Specifically, he was accused of retaliating against whistle-blowing with “a suspension and a lowered performance appraisal.”