On June 18, Amtrak IG Fred Wiederhold submitted a 94-page report, prepared at his request by an outside law firm, showing that the federally subsidized passenger rail service had, as Grassley said, "systematically violated the letter and spirit of the Inspector General Act." Immediately after the Amtrak board meeting where he presented that report, Wiederhold submitted notice that he would retire.You can (and certainly should) read the whole thing, but just consider all that has been reported about the Amtrak case in the past three weeks. (USA Today is just now catching up to this scandal train.) Grassley's office published the 94-page report, detailing the pattern of obstruction by Acheson's department, disclosed the "retaliation" fears of IG staffers, the Towns-Issa inquiry was announced -- and that's just the stuff I can actually report about one of the IG cases.
Those familiar with the congressional investigation say Wiederhold has denied being forced out at Amtrak -- personal considerations were also involved in his decision -- but the report he submitted June 18 details a pattern of obstruction by Amtrak's law department.
This department is the bailiwick of Amtrak vice president and general counsel Eleanor "Eldie" Acheson, who just happens to be a longtime friend (and Wellesley College roommate) of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Acheson's deputy general counsel, Jonathan Meyer, joined Amtrak after spending six years as a top Senate aide to Joe Biden, who has long proclaimed himself as Amtrak's No. 1 advocate in Washington and who personally announced the $1.3 billion in "stimulus" funds for Amtrak.
Led by the well-connected Acheson and Meyer, Amtrak's law department tried to require the IG's office to get prior approval before communicating with Congress and instituted a policy where documents subpoenaed by the IG's office were first reviewed and occasionally redacted by Amtrak management.
None of this squares with the law and Grassley, the congressional patron saint of inspectors general, wrote in a letter to Amtrak chairman Thomas Carper that, in the wake of Wiederhold's retirement, IG staffers were "fearful of retaliation" if they spoke to congressional investigators. The seriousness of these charges prompted Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to join with the committee's ranking Republican, California Rep. Darrell Issa, in announcing an official investigation, parallel to the probe led by Grassley's team in the Senate. . . .
There are various interesting off-the-record tips that I'm still trying to confirm, and there are more developments expected in coming days that I can't report yet. (Rule One: Never burn your sources.) Meanwhile, the Walpin case keeps simmering, with the stonewalling by AmeriCorps officials and other interesting developments.
There is lots of news here. If it weren't for Michelle Malkin, The Washington Examiner's Byron York, The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe -- dig this document dump! -- Youth Today's Nancy Lewis and the Sacramento Bee, I couldn't keep up myself.
The source I call "Deep Cleavage"* didn't return phone calls yesterday. and there are a couple of big tips I need to follow up on, so I'm headed to Capitol Hill again today. Since I'm not one of those $100K-a-year bloggers (I'm starting to think they're a myth, like unicorns and sober Kennedys) please hit the tip jar to help fund this latest shoe-leather trip.
*NOTE: "Deep Cleavage" is a mnemonic device, not a description. It's also the kind of lame pun ("Big tips" = "Deep Cleavage") that appeals to my inner eight-grader. Whether or not this involves a "D" . . . hey, never burn your sources. But these tips are real and they're spectacular.
UPDATE: OK, I'm running behind schedule this morning, but the Spectator story is already linked at Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Red State, Sister Toldjah, Around the Sphere, Urbin Report, And So It Goes In Shreveport, and Memeorandum. Please pay attention to this very intelligent comment from Moe Lane:
So, we’ll see.For less intelligent people, I recommend a certain tasty beverage known as STFU.
UPDATE 11:20 p.m.: Oh, boy. Chris Dodd? Just a hint from the Hill, but . . . oh, boy.