A federal audit has revealed the chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Richard Lidinsky, used taxpayer dollars to spend more than $1,600 a month leasing a Chevy Tahoe SUV and $75 an hour to hire a staffer to drive him around Washington D.C.
Channel 2 Action News also found parking for the vehicle cost $4,700 a year, and at least 105 trips made with the vehicle were used to "shuttle the agency's chairman from his office to a nearby train station" that was three blocks from his office, less than a ten-minute walk.
After agency employees complained about the SUV, The Federal Maritime Commission's Inspector General "investigated the procurement and usage of the SUV" and also found the agency "trampled government rules" because the Chevy Tahoe, which gets 15 miles per gallon, is not a fuel-efficient vehicle. All government vehicles must pass fuel-efficiency standards. In addition, the investigation found that "agency employees failed to properly log the trips made in the SUV."
According to the news station, "Federal Maritime Commission employees removed" their cameras from a recent public metting and the U.S. House Committee on Oversight has also "requested further information about the lease."