In a press release issued by the Trump administration last Friday, President Donald J. Trump announced Eric Soskin ’99 as his nominee for inspector general of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
The White House also made public that Howard Elliot would take over as the DOT’s acting inspector general until Soskin takes office, although the details of when this will be have not been released. Elliot will replace Mitch Behm, the office’s longtime deputy, who had previously filled the post since January.
Behm’s replacement comes amidst a string of personnel changes made by Trump targeting the inspectors general of several federal departments. Congressional Democrats have criticized Trump for the firing of these internal watchdogs, who are tasked with overseeing each department’s operations and monitoring for misconduct and abuses of power.
According to a Washington Post article published on Tuesday, three House Democrats plan to investigate the DOT switch-up and how it connects to an ongoing investigation into Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s possible conflicts of interest regarding potential preferential treatment toward the state of Kentucky. Chao’s husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the state’s senior senator.
Soskin, a career civil servant, currently serves as a senior trial counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Federal Programs Branch, a position he has held since 2006. In this capacity, he defended complex litigation in the DOJ’s Civil Division on behalf of a variety of federal agencies in the legislative and executive branches. He also worked as a policy counsel in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
Prior to joining the DOJ, Soskin served as a clerk for Judge Paul S. Diamond in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania. Soskin graduated from the College with a degree in political economy and mathematics. He then attended Harvard Law School, where he earned a J.D., magna cum laude.