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Letter to U.S. Representative Roy Blunt regarding the review of an FAA investigation following an aircraft accident

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The IG responded to Representative Roy Blunt’s request that we review an FAA investigation of a December 1999 aircraft accident involving Missouri educator Joseph Brinell. Brinell, former Director of Aviation at College of the Ozarks, was killed along with five others while piloting an aircraft. Rep. Blunt asked us to the investigate FAA in June 2001, alleging FAA’s harassment of Brinell. Our investigation found four irregularities, including the FAA team leader’s alleged statement that investigators had to protect the reputations of local FAA inspectors who were being investigated; FAA’s failure to include conflicting statements of witnesses in its report; and one investigator’s dissenting report highlighting FAA deficiencies in the investigation. We recommended that FAA withhold promotions of regional or local personnel pending further OIG investigation, and coordinate with us any proposed disciplinary actions resulting from our investigation.