Bloomberg story proves Cause of Action’s investigation right on the money

Last week, Cause of Action released a report called, “A Bus Tour of Chicago Style Fraud.” It turns out that our suspicions were correct. As Bloomberg News reports today , the U.S. Transportation Department knew that “…[the] Chicago Transit Authority collected more federal aid than it should have after inflating mileage covered by its bus routes.”

The Federal Transit Administration, part of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, not only knew of the over-reporting by CTA, but it seemingly ignored evidence of it for years because, as our report outlines, a 2007 audit showed that something was awry with the way CTA was reporting their mileage.

Instead, the USDOT chose to wait until this year to instruct CTA to change its behavior moving forward, as highlighted in an April 27, 2012 letter that FTA sent to CTA.

“FTA’s letter highlights two very important facts,” said Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein. “First, CTA was, as Cause of Action suspected, violating the reporting manual used to calculate VRM, thereby improperly receiving federal grant money. But secondly, FTA is revealing that it had knowledge of overreporting occurring, and by conducting a review of only 2011, it ignored the 2007 report presented by auditor Thomas Rubin that showed the same potential actions happening in fiscal year 2006.”

So the question of why an investigation didn’t happen until 2011 despite clear evidence that it should have happened sooner remains unanswered by the FTA.

“It appears an explanation for why FTA limited its review to one year, and failed to disclose its findings to Cause of Action following our expedited FOIA request, is that there is clearly a politically motivated cover-up happening at the Department of Transportation” said Epstein.

Cause of Action’s investigation into the poor stewardship of tax dollars only further raises the spectre of corruption at the same agency where Cause of Action revealed two top officials who violated the Hatch Act, Epstein said.

“Just as no punishment occurred when Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act, no punishment will occur with a CTA that defrauded the American taxpayers. Cause of Action exists to fight this kind of corruption and show the American taxpayers exactly what is happening to their money in the hands of corrupt politicians,” concludes Epstein.

In the coming days, Cause of Action hopes to be able to answer these questions on behalf of taxpayers of the United States.

  1. When did DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel decide to investigate the matter?
  2. Is there evidence to suggest that this same type of overreporting is happening at other transit authorities around the United States?
  3. Why hasn’t the FTA reported the CTA to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation in light of their overreporting and potential years of defrauding American taxpayers?
  4. How does the President explain the Chicago connections of Secretary LaHood, Robert Rivkin, Valerie Jarret and himself in light of this misuse of taxpayer dollars?