December 07,2010

Grassley: Case is Open on Amtrak Inspector General Removal


To:    Reporters and Editors
Fr:     Jill Gerber for Sen. Grassley, 202/224-6522
Re:    Amtrak inspector general removal
Da:    Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Senate Commerce Committee has released a report on Amtrak’s removal of its inspector general.  The report responds to a report issued in September from Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa.  The Grassley-Issa report is available here.

Grassley made the following comment on the Commerce Committee report.

“Amtrak forced its inspector general out of office without notice or consultation with Congress.  Amtrak then named an interim inspector general from management with no relevant experience, which further undermined the independence of the Office of Inspector General.  Like any entity that receives billions of tax dollars, Amtrak needs independent oversight.  It’s puzzling when people say Amtrak needs independent oversight but defend efforts to bring in an interim inspector general from management.  A certain amount of tension between an inspector general and management is a sign that worthwhile oversight is taking place.  That’s no excuse to ignore the law and remove the inspector general without notice to Congress. The public should read both reports and judge for itself.  Our 21-page report had 80 footnotes, attached 29 exhibits, and relied on about a dozen witness interviews to support its conclusions.  The Rockefeller report cites no witness interviews and does not deal at all with the core issue of whether Amtrak complied with the law in the way it removed its inspector general.  In the end, Amtrak management failed to comply with the law in removing its inspector general and nothing in the Rockefeller report changes that.  I look forward to reviewing the independent legal review that the Transportation Inspector General is currently conducting of this central question.”