“If the question is, does anyone in the agency give a pass because a former friend or colleague works there, the answer is no,” said the official. “They'd have to give a pass to the entire industry.”
Then there’s the November 2009 petition to re-open acceleration investigations that was denied by Obama NHTSA officials. That means Obama's NHTSA had been dealing with the issue precisely the way it had been dealt with in the past.
But ABC’s report pinned the blame on Bush's NHSTA, citing undisclosed "internal government memos” to back up their case.
"Internal government memos and court testimony analyzed by ABC News show the federal investigations were extremely limited in scope, after negotiations involving former safety investigators who had been recruited to work for Toyota's Washington, D.C. office," wrote a trio of ABC reporters.
Two former safety investigators ABC names are Christopher Tinto, vice president of regulatory affairs in Toyota's Washington office, and Christopher Santucci, who works for Tinto. Both men worked at NHTSA under Bush.
But this point there is no available evidence that Tinto or Santucci manipulated investigations, nor that they did anything different than what thousands of government employees do with every change in administration – transition into the private sector. Recent officials are the best source of current information on the complex regulations concocted by Uncle Sam, and many government workers take their jobs in hope of eventually receiving a private-industry paycheck. Furthermore, Santucci has testified that he had nothing to do with safety regulations when serving at NHTSA under President Bush.
The only thing that's certain at this point is that ABC and their “unnamed sources” are eager to pass the buck.