Amtrak Accused of Illegally Dismissing Its Inspector General

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Fred Weiderhold (AP Photo)
Republicans in Congress have accused Amtrak’s board of directors of illegally firing the agency’s longtime inspector general, who uncovered questionable financial decisions made by the passenger railroad service. According to a report issued by Congressional Republicans, the board was supposed to notify Congress before removing him.
 
Fred Weiderhold, an Amtrak employee for 35 years, including 21 as its first inspector general, investigated excess payments by the agency’s law department for outside legal services. He also looked into Amtrak’s decision to sell off railcars and then lease them back. When Weiderhold left his post in June 2009, Democrats, including Edolphus Towns, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also questioned the circumstances.
 
“Amtrak interfered with and ultimately decided to get rid of its inspector general for the worst possible reason: to stop an investigation,” said Representative Darrell Issa (R-California). “Inspectors general can’t be effective if they believe looking for waste and abuse could cost them their job. It’s clear Amtrak has problems that could ultimately require action by Congress.”
 
Issa has threatened to introduce legislation granting subpoena power to all Inspector generals, which only the Department of Defense inspector general has presently.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Lawmakers Rap Amtrak for IG Dismissal (by Robert Brodsky, Government Executive)
The Removal of the Inspector General for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) (Senate Finance Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) (pdf)

Comments

Anon. 9 years ago
"Republicans in Congress accuse". I don't believe a word they say, making this Not News. If this were a real investigation by the full committee that would be another matter.

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