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Corruption Eruptions Part 9 -- Obama Fires Americorps Inspector General

By Gary Starr For The Neville Awards
Posted June 16, 2008

Look, up in the sky!! It's President Hopey-Changey. It's President Post-Racial. It's President Transparent Government.'re all wrong. It's just our cheap Chicago thug, political grifter Fraudinator-in-Chief.

Remember when President Bush fired a few U.S. Attorneys who served at his pleasure and the press went ballistic charging the firings were politically motivated?

You would have thought Bush had closed down Gitmo and let all the terrorists come to New York and Bermuda. (Wait, Obama just did that...).

Well it turns out that Obama just fired Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin for the crime of trying to protect taxpayer dollars...a move that smacks of political favoritism and Chicago rules.

Per the Wall Street Journal:

A George W. Bush appointee, Mr. Walpin has since 2007 been the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees such subsidized volunteer programs as AmeriCorps. In April 2008 the Corporation asked Mr. Walpin to investigate reports of irregularities at St. HOPE, a California nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. St. HOPE had received an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant, which was supposed to go for three purposes: tutoring for Sacramento-area students; the redevelopment of several buildings; and theater and art programs.

Mr. Walpin's investigators discovered that the money had been used instead to pad staff salaries, meddle politically in a school-board election, and have AmeriCorps members perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car.

So far, so normal. But that all changed last fall, when Mr. Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. News of the suspension had become public, and President Obama began to discuss his federal stimulus spending. A city-hired attorney pronounced in March that Sacramento might be barred from receiving stimulus funds because of Mr. Johnson's suspension.

The news caused a public uproar. The U.S. Attorney's office, which since January has been headed by Lawrence Brown -- a career prosecutor who took over when the Bush-appointed Attorney left -- had already decided not to pursue criminal charges. Media and political pressure then mounted for the office to settle the issue and lift Mr. Johnson's suspension.

There's also the question of how Mr. Walpin was terminated. He says the phone call came from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, who said the President felt it was time for Mr. Walpin to "move on," and that it was "pure coincidence" he was asked to leave during the St. HOPE controversy. Yet the Administration has already had to walk back that claim.

On the Glenn Beck show Walpin said that when the Norman Eisen call came he was given the choice to quit or be fired...he chose to be fired and he is now considering his options. Having failed to pressure Walpin into resigning (which in itself might violate the law), the Administration backpeddled saying he'd be terminated in 30 days, and that they would tell Congress the reasons. We at Neville wonder what fairy tale the Administration will manufacture.

Obama also violated the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an inspector general. The administration did neither. It turns out that a certain Sen. Obama co-sponsored this bill.

Naturally the state-controlled press has buried the story...wouldn't reflect well on their golden boy.

Neville Update June 18, 2009

Per the Chicago Tribune:

Senator asks about firings of watchdogs-Removal of 2 inspectors general prompts questions

Treasury Inspector General Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R- Iowa, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner demanding information about a "dispute over certain Treasury documents" that he said were being "withheld" from Barofsky's office on a "specious claim of attorney-client privilege."

A White House spokesman declined to comment, referring questions to the Treasury Department. Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said late Wednesday that the agency would read Grassley's letter and respond to the senator before any public comment.

Separately this week, the International Trade Commission told its acting inspector general, who is not subject to White House authority, that her contract would not be renewed.

Grassley had become concerned about her independence because of a report earlier in the year that an agency employee forcibly took documents from the acting inspector general.

"It is difficult to understand why the ITC would not have taken action to ensure that the ITC inspector general had the information necessary to do the job," Grassley wrote.

Less than three hours after the letter was e-mailed to the agency, the acting IG, Judith Gwynne, was told that her contract, which expires in early July, would not be renewed.
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