Cruz Calls for New Investigation Into FAA Nominee Phil Washington, Who Left LA Metro Amid Corruption Charges

Fox News is reporting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is calling for a new Senate investigation into Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, Phil Washington, before the Senate considers his nomination on March 1.


This is Washington’s second time going through the nomination process; his first nomination stalled last summer. He has been the CEO of Denver International Airport since 2021, and allegations of corruption and retaliation there spurred Cruz’s call for an additional investigation.

“Last week, we discovered he failed to disclose to the committee that he’s been named in a new lawsuit alleging discriminatory and retaliatory practices at Denver’s airport,” Cruz said. “He also failed to provide to the Committee more than 18 hours of speeches and remarks as well as details concerning additional lawsuits involving him, all of which staff now must review.”

During Washington’s first nomination issues surrounding his time as CEO of LA Metro tanked the nomination, and those issues have only worsened with time. As we reported in November 2020, when Biden selected Washington to be a member of his transportation transition team, Washington was involved in not one, but two federal criminal investigations at the time. One involved allegations that LA Metro knowingly distributed counterfeit N95 masks early in the pandemic to transit workers, who were obviously at high risk, leading to at least one death. Another involved a no-bid contract for a sexual harassment hotline given to a friend of then-LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in which the county ended up paying $8,000 a call.


Since that time, more information has come to light in the Kuehl investigation, and in September, search warrants were executed at the home of Kuehl, her friend, the nonprofit Peace Over Violence, LA Metro offices, and Supervisor Kuehl’s office. Washington retaliated against Jennifer Loew, the whistleblower whose information led to the investigation and search warrants.

[Loew] had filed complaints with her bosses over Peace Over Violence’s contract after examining the low call volume and calculating the cost per call handled by POV at over $8,000 and recommending that the contract be terminated. Jennifer Loew appeared in [Fox LA’s] describing her efforts to end the wasteful spending and revealed that POV’s contracts were all under $500,000, which allowed them to be approved only by Metro executives instead of having to go before the Metro board. In addition, Kuehl’s relationships with POV and Giggans weren’t disclosed.

Instead of being rewarded for looking out for the taxpayer, Loew tells FOX 11 that when she started blowing the whistle on the hotline and other alleged misconduct at Metro, she was retaliated against, including a denied promotion, and the moving of her office from the executive floor down to the P1 basement level next to the parking garage and restrooms.

The search warrant named Washington, and unlike before, his direct involvement in the corrupt contract is alleged:


Among other things, the warrant alleges…that Washington was directly involved a 2017 sole-source contract award granted to the nonprofit Peace Over Violence, a deal one witness says he pushed to remain in Kuehl’s “good graces.” It also alleges that Washington had the contract paid from a fund normally used for office supplies, which would lessen scrutiny of the expenditure.

Kuehl blames the entire investigation on a “disgruntled former employee” who is “obsessed” with the issue. No criminal charges have been filed as yet in that investigation, which has been taken over by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, which doesn’t give non-corruptocrats in California much hope.

However, given the allegations and given the additional retaliatory conduct alleged in Denver, the Senate is well-advised to do additional investigation into Washington. Heaven knows, even a cursory investigation hasn’t been done in California.


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