AUSTIN — When the president of the largest freight carrier in the United States goes to the White House to announce an ambitious, $6.5 billion contract, he’s going to need to show a lot of progress.
But when it comes to the federal agency he’s charged with running, he’ll be under pressure to deliver, and there’s not much time.
That’s because the Federal Railroad Administration is investigating whether C.R. Marshall is violating its standards for safety, a potentially dangerous violation that could put the company out of business.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of a letter sent last month to Marshall and two other carriers by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general.
The letter accused Marshall of falsifying documents to meet requirements to be considered a “fiduciary” under the Federal Financial Institutions Reform Act.
It says the company was not required to follow all the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s largest consumer protection agency, which oversees banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.
In the letter, the agency’s inspector noted that Marshall had been required to file reports on financial disclosures with the FTC, but that he had not.
Marshall did not respond to a request for comment.
The agency says that it will pursue criminal charges against Marshall if he fails to comply.
He’s not the only one facing scrutiny.
Last year, regulators began investigating several other major freight carriers, including Delta Air Lines, American and Alaska, after their CEO and a senior executive had financial ties to the Chinese government.
The inspector general’s letter is a reminder of the dangers posed by a company with the size and reach of Marshall’s that has no financial accountability to consumers.
It comes as the Obama administration has been seeking to overhaul the Federal Reserve system, which the watchdog has called a “corrupt, dysfunctional and dangerous institution.”
In a report released last year, the watchdog said the Fed’s monetary policies are “not working as intended.”
The federal agency that Marshall runs, the U-Haul Corporation, has been a fixture of American life for decades.
Its fleet of ships and freight cars has become the backbone of American commerce.
But in recent years, the company has struggled to compete with larger rivals, particularly in the transportation sector.
It recently was fined $2.2 million by the FTC for not paying more than 10% of the cost of freight cars used by other freight carriers.
And it’s had to pay billions of dollars in fines for violations of anti-money laundering laws.
In recent months, the Obama Administration has been pressuring carriers like C.F. Marshall to improve safety standards.
In January, it ordered them to spend more time on training and education and to implement stricter training policies.
It also issued a letter in February that threatened to fine Marshall $200 million if he didn’t improve safety on some of his ships.
The letter to Marshall comes as his administration has taken steps to overhaul its regulatory agencies.
In April, the White Street Group, a hedge fund founded by billionaire Paul Singer, filed for bankruptcy protection, citing a lack of oversight and accountability.
The U-Masters bankruptcy filing followed a report by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a division of the U.-Haul Corp., which said the company may have violated federal anti-trust law by failing to meet the standards of a trade promotion authority.
The SEC has launched an investigation into Marshall’s finances.
But regulators say the investigation is preliminary and that the agency will not prosecute.