It turns out that former Amtrak IG Fred Wiederhold quit right after Senator Grassley started asking some questions.
As a senior member of the United States Senate and as the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance (Committee), it is my duty under the Constitution to ensure that Inspectors General, which were created by Congress, are permitted to operate without political pressure or interference from their respective agencies. Inspectors General were designed for the express purpose of combating waste, fraud, and abuse and to be independent watchdogs ensuring that federal agencies were held accountable for their actions. I understand that Inspector General Fred Weiderhold, Jr. has retired today.
Based on contacts that my staff had with Mr. Weiderhold on two recent occasions (April 2, 2009 and June 4, 2009), I understand that the OIG has suffered from repeated and continuous interference from the agency. After the most recent discussion, it was agreed that the OIG would provide, among other things, a White Paper and specific examples of agency interference with OIG audits and/or investigations. To date, the OIG has not yet provided any documents. As you know, any interference such as that was described in these previous discussions is a direct violation of the Inspector General Act of 1978.
In light of Mr. Weiderhold’s unexpected retirement, please provide the previously requested documentation immediately.
(Via Michelle Malkin) Stacy McCain’s covering the story, particularly the bits potentially involving one Eleanor Acheson. Ms. Acheson is the General Counsel for Amtrak, a very heavy Democratic campaign contributor, someone who is linked to Vice President Joe Biden, and who was brought into Amtrak after a legal department restructuring in 2006 (supposedly not due to ethics issues) caused the last general counsel was reshuffled over to be incoming Amtrak President Alex Kummant’s temporary counsel. Entertainingly enough, Kummant himself suddenly left his position, right after the 2008 election; it’s been suggested that his surprisingly short tenure might have something to do with his disputes with Amtrak’s Board of Directors, which includes – interestingly enough – Hunter Biden, who is of course the son of the Vice President.
All very nicely (and Washingtonianly) incestuous, yes – but what does it mean?
Well, we’ll let Senator Grassley find that out for us. Although I do find it interesting that Hunter Biden’s connection with Amtrak occurred largely after the billing irregularities that supposedly did not get Ms. Acheson her current job took place. There are a surprising number of coincidences going on with Amtrak, it seems.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.