Congress Probes Maritime Agency for Alleged Intimidation, Covert Surveillance of Staff, Misuse of Tax Dollars?
The FMC is an independent agency responsible for regulating U.S. international ocean transportation for U.S. exporters and importers. The commission reviews contracts among carriers, resolves disputes, and seeks to address unfavorable conditions caused by foreign governments in U.S. foreign shipping, and investigates complaints.
In a May 9 letter to FMC Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr., Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, wrote that the FMC “may be an agency in crisis.” He continued: “Commission insiders allege that the politicization of the Commission’s core functions and administrative decisions has contributed to a climate of fear and intimidation among agency members and staff. As you know, the Office of Special Counsel has opened an investigation into these allegations.”
The letter from Issa requested documents about covert surveillance of FMC staff computers and e-mails; information on Lidinsky’s alleged intrusion into the Freedom of Information Act process; information about Lidinsky’s possible use of a taxpayer-funded chauffer and vehicle; information on the purchase of art for the chairman’s office; and an accounting of the agency’s 50th anniversary party.
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