We have received information via the confidential tip page that the DOT Inspector General has opened an investigation into the suspicious nature of the award of the contract to LMI and the conflict of interest issue we raised in our recent posts, The LMI Scandal Unfolds and LMI and the Conflict of Interest Clause.
This is a big development and some of the readers of this website may be able to help. Here’s how:
The Inspector General office has an 800 phone line that you can call if you have relevant information. Don’t call to tell them about the posts on this website — they’ve read the posts and it will not help to overwhelm them with information that they already have. But, if you have specific evidence or leads that might help them develop evidence, then you should contact them. Contact information is at the end of this post.
Here’s the type of evidence that the Inspector General might find useful:
- Evidence that LMI was pre-selected to get the contract. This might be a conversation you had with someone from LMI; or maybe you work inside MARAD, DOT or LMI (a number of MARAD and DOT employees visit this website everyday and the number of visitors from Tysons, VA (the location of LMI’s corporate headquarters) has shot up in recent days) and know of communications with LMI prior to the announcement of the RFQ or prior to the announcement of the bid award. If so, preserve a copy of the communication. Consider downloading it to a thumb drive, printing a hard copy, or taking a picture with a smart phone. Then notify the IG.
- Evidence of Marlise Streitmatter’s involvement in the USMMA culture study. Although we have knowledge of some of her involvement, we have made promises to tipsters not to compromise their identity. Consequently, we will not forward the information we have developed to the IG without a tipster’s express permission. So if you know of anyone who was interviewed by Streitmatter or of other ways she has been involved in the culture study, please let the IG know.
- Evidence that DOT/MARAD are trying to dictate the end result of the culture study. This is very important, because it is the hardest to prove without insider knowledge.
- You don’t necessarily have to have physical evidence. Maybe you now of a meeting that was held and the names of witnesses to that meeting. Maybe you know the name of a person with knowledge. The more specific information you have, the more helpful it will be.
All DOT and MARAD employees — as well as LMI employees since LMI is a government contractor — are protected by the Federal Whistleblower Act. The DOT IG has a webpage that describes the protections the act provides.
Remember, do not call the IG just to urge an investigation. The IG needs evidence and leads, not calls from the thousands of us who are frustrated that so little seems to have been done so far. Something is being done. To make a report, go to the DOT IG’s hotline webpage and use one of the contact methods provided there.