President Barack Obama plans to fire the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs amid a controversy between the IG and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.
The IG, Gerald Walpin, was criticized by the U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and his nonprofit group, St. HOPE Academy, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.
On Thursday, Obama said in a letter to Congress that he had lost confidence in Walpin. Neither the president nor deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest would give details.
What the AP misses in inside baseball is made up by the reporting of Byron York.
There are a number of unanswered questions today about President Obama's abrupt decision to fire the inspector general of the AmeriCorps program, Gerald Walpin. Obama sent letters to House and Senate leaders yesterday informing them that he was firing Walpin, effective 30 days from the date of the letters."
It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as
Inspectors General," the president wrote. "That is no longer the case with
regard to this Inspector General."
The 30 day requirement is important because last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which was designed to strengthen protections for IGs, who have the responsibility of investigating allegations of waste, fraud and abuse within federal agencies, against interference by political appointees or the White House. Part of the Act was a requirement that the president give Congress 30 days' notice before dismissing an IG. One of the co-sponsors of the Act was then-Sen. Barack Obama.
The Act also requires the president to outline the cause for his decision to remove an IG. Beyond saying that he did not have the "fullest confidence" in Walpin, Obama gave no reason for his action
Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin finds a link to Michelle Obama.
Some decisions about CNCS are being made by First Lady Michelle Obama, according to service advocates (who asked not to be named). Last week, Mrs. Obama announced that her chief of staff, Jackie Norris, would move to CNCS as a senior adviser. Officials said yesterday that Norris is scheduled to arrive on June 22.
One of the problems with stories like this is that it's very difficult to separate fact from assertion. Officially, the Obama administration did nothing wrong, but this certainly doesn't look good. Inspector Generals, U.S. Attorneys, and the Attorney General themselves, are mostly responsible for being a watchdog for the federal government itself. As such, they are often responsible for investigating the same people that selected them for their positions.
It appears as though President Obama removed the IG because they were investigating a political ally, Kevin Johnson. It's peculiar that President Obama would say that the IG has lost his confidence given the numerous tax problems of several of his cabinet members. It's hard to imagine anyone having a more difficult start than Tim Geithner and yet after a series of missteps, he still enjoys Obama's confidence. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is often painful to watch and yet he enjoys Obama's confidence. Frankly, after only a few months on the job, shouldn't everyone still have the President's confidence. The president simply wouldn't elaborate as to why he lost confidence in him so quickly and that raises suspicion.
You can see the inherent conflict of interest here. That's why there was such a massive response to the story of 8 U.S. Attorneys being removed. Any hint that these folks have been politicized corrupts the whole system. That's the implication here though it's only an implication. Of course, there is just as much evidence of corruption in this story as there were in the story involving the 8 U.S. Attorneys.
That story was a front page story for weeks and continued getting significant exposure for months. So far, the media has made a collective yawn outside of conservative circles. Besides the AP, it's hard to find any mainstream outlet covering this story. This continues the very troubling trend of the MSM simply ignoring almost every story in which the president looks bad.
I don't know if the implication is valid but I do know that there is enough evidence to warrant a full investigation by the media. The MSM also ignored evidence that indicated that Chrysler dealership closings were often politically motivated. When the media stops being a watchdog, they invite corruption. They invite exactly the sort of corruption that has been presented in this piece. When a politician knows the media will ignore all related corruption, that is a license to be corrupt. The behavior of the MSM simply invites the Obama administration to engage in all sorts of corruption because they know none will be investigated.