Green Room

Grassley: IG Document Shows Amtrak ‘Systematically Violated’ Law

posted at 8:39 pm on June 25, 2009 by

Exclusive news report at The American Specator:

Officials of Amtrak have “systematically violated the letter and spirit of the Inspector General Act,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) charged Thursday, making public a 94-page legal report prepared at the request of the Amtrak inspector general who resigned suddenly a week ago.
Fred Wiederhold, a veteran IG, retired without notice or explanation June 18 after a meeting with Amtrak officials where he presented the report by the law firm of Willkie, Farr & Gallagher.
“The allegations are serious, including third parties being told to first send documents under subpoena by the Inspector General to Amtrak for review, and the Inspector General being chastised for communicating directly with congressional appropriations and authorizing committees,” Grassley said in a statement.
Grassley’s accusation of illegal actions by Amtrak, including failure to comply properly with subpoenas, is the most serious to date in an investigation that has expanded quickly since the IG for the AmeriCorps program was given an ultimatum two weeks ago to resign or be fired.
In a letter to Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper, Grassley said the legal report “suggests a long-term and unrelenting interference with the activities and operation” of the IG’s office. Grassley said his staff believes that members of the Amtrak IG office “be fearful of retaliation if they were to discuss the matters set forth in this letter with anyone, including Congress.” . . .

Read the rest. Just got off the phone with a source who had some encouraging news. Investigators for Sen. Joe Lieberman (Ind.-Conn.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) are now becoming involved with the IG-Gate probe.

Previously, Lieberman and Collins had seemed willing to accept Obama administration officials’ version of the firing of AmeriCorps IG Gerald Walpin without even hearing Walpin’s side of the story. Now, as a clear pattern of pressure against IGs has developed, the multiple investigations have gotten the attention of Lieberman and Collins, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This is the chief oversight committee with jurisdiction to hold hearings and subpoena materials in the IG probe.

Some Republicans, however, have been disappointed by Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Both GOP senators have expressed interest in the IG investigations, but neither has sought to interview Walpin or ordered their own staffers to coordinate with Grassley’s investigators, who have already been on the case for two weeks.

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Okay. Since I have been quietly reading your posts on this IG thing for quite awhile… I finally bit the bullet and sent my senator, Lieberman, an email. Thanks for the link. I know you wrote he’s already interested, but I wanted to encourage him to stay focused. And he is my state senator.

I almost never do this writing to your senator thing, but I bacame passionate about this from seeing the dirt that was done to Walpin. While this isn’t a sexy topic, these firings and sudden resignations really don’t pass the smell test.

Keep digging.

marybel on June 25, 2009 at 10:14 PM

Marybel: Smart judgment. I can’t tell you everything I know, but if you want Congress to get to the bottom of this, it’s very important that voters do what you’ve done. Contact your representative and senators and encourage them to become involved.

The Other McCain on June 25, 2009 at 10:48 PM

I’m from Illinois…. Are you sure you want Durbin or Burris involved? (grin)

Mew

acat on June 26, 2009 at 3:23 PM

I should come to the Green Room more often. Have been searching for stories about this.
Keep up the good work!! and Thank You~

bridgetown on June 28, 2009 at 2:21 PM