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AmeriCorps IG Tit-for-Tat Continues

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 6:08 p.m. ET

Lawmakers want more details regarding Gerald Walpin's dismissal at the Corporation for National and Public Service, despite a lengthy explanation provided last night by the White House.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of President Obama's strongest supporters, today called the administration's explanation "substantial" and said the president's decision "appears well founded."

"The next step for Congress is to use the 30 days provided by the notice to seek further information and undertake any further review that might be necessary," she said in a statement. Obama must notify lawmakers within 30 days of dismissing any inspector general, in accordance with a 2008 law co-sponsored by McCaskill.

The Missouri lawmaker raised Eyebrows yesterday by publicly criticizing the president's motives and reasons for firing Walpin. Within hours the White House responded with a detailed written explanation, including allegations that Walpin appeared confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions at a late May agency board meeting.

Republican lawmakers had mixed reactions to the White House's version of events.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley threatened to hold up the confirmations of Justice Department nominees if Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. does not provide an accounting of the department's role in referring misconduct allegations against Walpin to an inspectors general integrity panel. The Iowa Republican is seeking answers to several questions from Holder, and said “until we start getting some answers to these outstanding requests, I’m noticing my intention to hold certain Justice Department nominees.”

Grassley also requested the White House provide more information about the accusations raised in last night's letter. Specifically, he wants the names of board members that complained about Walpin, a list of any witnesses the White House or Corporation officials interviewed about Walpin's behavior and why Walpin was given only one hour to decide whether to resign or be fired.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had a more favorable take on the matter. The ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee seemed satisfied with the explanations, but asked administration and Corporation officials to provide further details.

House lawmakers have requested a meeting with White House Counsel Gregory Craig on the matter. Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said "the lack of information has prompted uninformed speculation in the media and by Members of Congress."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated today that the White House acted in response to a request from the Corporation's board.

"These were views that were held by many people as part of that board. And certainly the administration stands by what's in the letter," Gibbs said.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 17, 2009; 4:41 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Comments

The fired inspector was on Glenn Beck last night and took a new york state senile test. The reasons behind is firing are 110% bogus, and it was proven with ease. This was a firing to stop a corruption investigation, don't make it about anything else when it's obvious it isn't. Impeach Obama.

Posted by: swatpup102 | June 18, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

If transparency was promised. Then we should have the clean window to look through. The blinds should be taken down!!!!!

Posted by: eagle55 | June 18, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

There's your snapshot of healthcare reform; White House allegations that Walpin appeared confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions at a late May meeting prompt his immediate removal. No concern for an illness or physical cause of that alleged behavior. No tests, evaluations or referral to specialists, no sick leave or due process. Will Obama also make the healthcare decisions for us in the future which circumvent law or procedure at his whim? Make the outcome happen then form a process (less than due) to publicize as an excuse?

Posted by: ascpgh1 | June 18, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Into the 2nd week, the Post continues to treat this as an "inside baseball" story and not as the scandal it is. Continues to give Obama a pass. No headlines. No investigation.

Posted by: amazd | June 18, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

We need serious hearings into this.
At this time, with all this Stimulus money going out, it is more important than ever that we have strong Inspector Generals. Firing one for being over-zealous sends exactly the wrong message.
And Obama's assurance that Joe Biden will make sure stimulus money is not being mis-spent is just not going to cut it.
If more news of fraud comes out in the following years, people can look to this moment to see whether playing by the rules and protection of the people's money was discouraged or encouraged.

Posted by: Johannes1 | June 18, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

What is the big deal? Federal employees of low rank are being suspended without pay pending an internal investigation. These employees are not even getting 24-hour notices. As for US Senator Charles Grassley, let's take a look at his record. Wonder if he belongs to some White Supremacist group. Inspector Generals are political appointees and the U.S. President can remove all of them. In fact, instead of having IGs who we know that are being used by federal top managers to get rid of a particular employee. Example, Customs Commissioner Ray Kelly used the Treasury's OIG to open investigation on Customs IA managers and employees, or whoever HQ disliked. As a reward, several U.S. Customs Office of Investigations and Internal Affairs positions were filled with with Treasury's OIG employees. The whole system is corrupt. Let President Obama and his administration do their job. We endured 8 years under Bush....and I am still enjoying President Obama's victory.

Posted by: doctormiguel | June 18, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Read the facts, Walpin has made himself an obstacle to progress at every step of the way. It would appear from this information that Walpin violated policy repeatedly. He should have been gotten rid of earlier. Here is an excerpt from the Washington Times article referenced above, and Walpin's defense. Funny how Mr. Beck (liar and rabblerouser that he is) missed these details:

"The letter recounted the fallout from Walpin’s 2008 investigation of Sacramento-based St. HOPE Academy, founded by Sacramento Mayor and former NBA basketball star Kevin Johnson. Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown, also appointed by Bush, settled the matter with Johnson and later filed a complaint with an inspector general ethics panel, alleging Walpin withheld key information and interfered in his investigation by speaking with the news media. The panel is expected to rule later this week on the matter.

“We further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation’s headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation’s board,” the letter states.

In an interview earlier this week, Walpin recounted that he informed the Bush administration in early January of his intent to resign on Inauguration Day as a courtesy to President Obama. After less than two years on the job and 52 years of marriage, Walpin had tired of the commute from his home in New York. After informing his staff about his impending departure, some staffers convinced him to stay with the Corporation and telework a few days each week from New York.

The White House letter also states that Walpin “engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct” and said he became “unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness and, for reasons stated above, losing the confidence of the Board and the agency.”

“All I can say is yes, there was a meeting where we had great disputes and the chairman of the board kept cutting me off on my presentation,” Walpin said of Alan Solomont, the Corporation’s board chairman, who was recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Spain.

“There was no confusion whatsoever about the meaning of my reports,” Walpin said last night. “Indeed right now, I would think that the only one confused is the White House, which really doesn’t seem to understand the meaning and the need to protect the independence of IGs.”

Walpin then took his comments a step further.

“If any mistakes or confusion in statements means that someone is unable to act in the position, well then President Obama once said there were 57 states. Does that mean he’s incompetent? No. Or when Vice President Biden has made his various misstatements does that mean he’s incompetent? Of course not.”

Posted by: aurum79 | June 18, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Newsflash: IG functions are going to be impediments to operations they oversee. You don't line up your QC functions with your production functions. Oh, there I go applying my business experience which is more than the whole cabinet's. Regardless of all bickering, this is usurpation of (Sen. Obama's) the 2008 act ensuring due process rights of government employees. No additional dirt at either the fired IG or the president can change that. They guy could have been starting a KKK chapter, buying the sheets with TARP funds and he still gets the 30 day review!

Posted by: ascpgh1 | June 18, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Walpin is hero. The Washington Post is the like the Iranian state run news agency.

Why is Americorps executive protecting Kevin Johnson? Does anyone know where the missing money is?

Obama has also fired 2 other Inspector Generals. This happened after they asked for documentation from Geittner, and Mr. Tax Cheat refused to hand them over. We have American Whistleblowers being treated like Soviet Dissidents --- being called mentally ill to discredit them. The Washington Post has refused to report on the firing of the other 2 IGs. It is part of the coverup and censorship.

Go to the Chicago Tribune to find out what is going on. It is pathetic that this major news story is being covered in an obscure blog posting.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | June 18, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Yes, aurum79, we should all read the facts of the case, which you, apparently, have not.

http://www.cncsig.gov/StHopeSR.html

Posted by: GuyP | June 18, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

IG Walpin has been on TV for the last 3 days. He is as lucid as POTUS is. He was fired for uncovering corruption committed by one or POTUS's friends. POTUS is arrogant, autocratic and needs to be fired himself.

Posted by: shomeir | June 18, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I hear POTUS is trying to buy Yellow Cake again. Geeish, maybe Obama should be waterboarded for swatting that fly!! 8*))

Posted by: ConsiderThisMyFriend | June 18, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama clearly is a rogue President. He ignores federal law and the Constitution. I can't believe that this is happening in our country. Obama's and Eisen's tactics are straight out of Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR.

Posted by: Mainer1776 | June 18, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Every time Obama’s teleprompter goes out he appears “confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions”. Is he going to resign?

Posted by: MyView49 | June 18, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If you bothered to look at the Stimulus Bill, you might have noticed a little section that allows Obama to Request any Inspector General to stop carrying out an Investigation. It forces the IG to justify why he should pursue the Fraud or other infraction within 30 days.

Mr. Obama has no use for any IG being independent, and isn't interested in anyone investigating anything he (or his friends) are doing.

This is a classic ad hominem attack from a man who professed to be above such things, and a dangerous portent of things to come.

Too many of his campaign promises are a the punchline to jokes these days.

Posted by: Akcita_Tridens | June 18, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Slow down, everybody! Before any side rushes to judgment on the Walpin firing, let's all chill a little and wait for the full story to get out, and not just selected pieces. Inspectors General are statutorily independent officials who do not serve at the will of the president and cannot be fired absent misconduct. Only last year Congress passed a law to strengthen the independence of IGs, so Obama of all people should be very cautious before dismissing one. But we really have no idea yet whether there was just cause for the dismissal. While the allegations of "confusion" and "erratic behavior" are not very detailed and should not suffice to justify dismissal, there are other, very serious allegations that have been leveled against Walpin. Most serious (so far, at least) is the letter written by the Acting U.S.Attorney in Sacramento to the Justice Department, accusing Walpin of misconduct, including withholding of material evidence, in the civil case against now-mayor Kevin Johnson. This U.S. Attorney is a holdover from the Bush Administration and cannot be considered an Obama flunkie, and he makes some very serious charges against Walpin, dating back to last year, before Obama came into office. I have no idea yet whether the firing was a pretext to protect a Democratic favorite or whether Walpin did indeed commit misconduct justifying his dismissal. But it is not an open-and-shut case, and we all ought to cool our heels a bit and allow the process to run its course. However, this "process" also requires the Washington Post and other newspapers to keep a spotlight on the case and ensure that the truth comes out. It also requires citizens to support newspapers that will investigate misconduct, as we cannot take it for granted that investigative journalism will survive much longer.

Posted by: WahooRicky | June 18, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Obama. Richard Nixon would have liked your style.

Posted by: althusius | June 18, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

IMPEACH OBAMA swatpup102??


Good god.

But then, what can we expect from a person who does what the messiah BECK tells his flock to do?

Every day he starts his show by begging his audience to "FOLLOW ME".

He pounds his desk and yells "RISE UP!! WHY AREN'T YOU IN THS STREETS? WHY AREN'T YOU POUNDING THE PAVEMENT?"

When another Tim McVeigh slaughters 300 people who happen to be in a government building messiah Beck will claim he had nothing to do with it.


.

.


Why shouldn't Obama get rid of some of the crooks, traitors and toadies from the DUHbya regime? Hell I would have gotten rid of ALL of them!


.

.


You BECK sheeple need to run back to Faux News right now - you may be missing the latest black helicopter conspiracy by ACORN to take over America and destroy it for Allah.


Freaks.

Posted by: lquarton | June 19, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

The world is a much safer place Since President Obama started his work. He is creating jobs, stabilizing world powers, and his speeches are motivating Mid-East youth into conducting "flower child" like protest.
He has cut over 1 million dollars of wasteful Government spending, and is adhering to the "Bush time table" in Iraq. He is also continuing to pave the way for the "road map to peace" started by Bush.
Anyone that thinks Pres. Obama isn't a cool guy is an idiot. He has maintained the Bush tax cuts and has greatly expanded Bush's spending policy.
About health care compromise: he is now willing to except proposals made by then candidate "McCain", (taxing HC), and will use the forced health care coverage to bolster support within the insurance industry, moreover, the mandatory HC data base will store your DNA, blood, and organ-donar info., along with you SSN, home address ect. You will need a card chip or mark to access HC. This is a brilliant two edge sword that will deny illegal immigrants a place to hide !

We have not seen a leader like this since WW2.
We urge you to forget about "common sense", just go with it, no time to think, "yes we can".

Posted by: newmail | June 20, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

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