Cause of Action’s investigative report, “A Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud,” revealed the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) may have improperly received up to $150 million in taxpayer funds, dating as far back as 1982. Since our report was published, we now know that the Department of Transportation was aware of over-reporting by CTA, and we’ve seen a letter the Federal Transit Administration sent to CTA on April 27, 2012 instructing them to correct their 2011 data. And new questions have emerged.
- Why did FTA not act on Thomas Rubin’s 2007 report of this exact behavior by the CTA?
- When did DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel decide to investigate the matter?
- Is there evidence to suggest that this same type of over-reporting is happening at other transit authorities around the United States?
- Why hasn’t the FTA reported the CTA to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation in light of their over-reporting and potential years of defrauding American taxpayers?
- How does the President explain the Chicago connections of Robert Rivkin, Valerie Jarrett and others in light of this misuse of taxpayer dollars?
This final question highlights several ties between the Chicago Transit Authority and the Obama Administration.
- Robert Rivkin, the current general counsel for the United States Department of Transportation, previously served as the general counsel for the Chicago Transit Authority, from 2001-2004.
- Valerie Jarrett, the former Chair of CTA (1995-2003), now serves as a senior advisor for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs in the Obama administration.
- Forrest Claypool, the current President of the CTA was appointed to the position by Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff for the 44th president and current mayor of Chicago. Before coming to CTA, Claypool served as a member of Obama’s media team in 2008.
- Shelia Nix, former CTA board member (and also a former aide to Rod Blagojevich), now serves as Vice President Biden’s chief of staff.
Cause of Action thinks that these connections raise questions about the nature of the relationship between Washington and CTA, especially given how reluctant the FTA was to investigate allegations of over-reporting that were raised as early as 2007.