Will Obama’s Firing of an Inspector General Evolve Into a Major Scandal?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


This didn’t take long.

Not six months on the job yet and President Obama could be facing a major political scandal.

Last Wednesday, a man named Gerald Walpin, a U.S. inspector general investigating the possible misuse of Americorps funds, received a surprise call from the Obama White House informing him was fired. The firing was seen by some as politically motivated and highly illegal.

By law the president has the power to fire inspectors general whose jobs require them to audit and investigate fraud within the government independent from influence by the executive and legislative branches.

But Walpin claims that he was fired without warning, and would be a clear violation of the 2008 Inspectors General Reform Act, a law requiring the president to provide the Congress with a written explanation of cause a minimum of 30 days before firing an inspector general. The Obama White House did not do this. Walpin said he was given one hour to resign or be fired. When Walpin refused to resign, Obama sent letters to the House and Senate saying that he was firing Walpin, effective in 30 days. Obama stated in the letters:

“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”

Which begs the question, why would Obama fire Gerald Walpin? An elderly man who, by most accounts, has a long history of esteemed government service. He is a Republican, but doesn’t appear to be an ideologue. He has worked to convict Republicans of wrong-doing over the course of his career, including some in the Nixon administration, and says he’s been helping the White House prepare Sonia Sotomayor, a person he said he admires greatly, for her upcoming confirmation hearings.

One explanation comes courtesy of Byron York:

Senate sources now believe Obama fired Gerald Walpin over his investigation of Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and a prominent supporter of the president. Johnson, who went on to become the mayor of Sacramento, CA, started a non-profit organization called St. Hope. The group’s mission, according to its website, is, “to revitalize inner-city communities through public education, civic leadership, economic development and the arts.” As part of its work, St. Hope received a grant of about $850,000 from AmeriCorps.

Last year, Walpin began an investigation of how Johnson’s group spent the money. According to the Associated Press, “[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car.” Walpin asked Federal prosecutors to investigate. In April, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, a Bush holdover, declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and also criticized Walpin’s investigation.

That might suggest that St. HOPE was OK, and it was Walpin who was in the wrong. But at the same time prosecutors decided not to file any charges against St. HOPE, the U.S. attorney’s office also entered into a settlement with St. HOPE in which the group also agreed to pay back about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.

The bottom line: Gerald Walpin accused a prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money. After an investigation, the prominent Obama supporter had to repay back more than $400,000 of the grant money and Obama fired the inspector general who shined light on the matter in the first place .

Stay tuned.

This entry was posted in News, President Barack Obama, Scandals and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Will Obama’s Firing of an Inspector General Evolve Into a Major Scandal?

  1. feminazi says:

    Another meticulously written and researched piece and a subject the corporate-owned, mainstream media is ignoring. I guess they’re afraid they may lose access to the Obama White House. If this is true and Obama fired this career employee for doing his job and investigating an Obama supporter, I think the president could be in serious trouble.

  2. DMason says:

    So Obama can fire a government worker for doing his job which happened to involve investigating a friend of the president but Obama doesn’t have the fortitude to tell Congress to send him legislation to repeal DADT and DOMA? Unreal.

  3. Josh says:

    I am deeply disheartened. It would appear that the office of Presidency corrupts all. The old cliche is apparently an unequivocal truth: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  4. bradfrmphnx says:

    While he played for us we thought KJ was the second coming of Christ. Then after he retired there were rumors and accusations of his involvement with an underage girl. I heard of this investigation when it was taking place, but what do you do other than shake your head?

    The lustre of Obama is not nearly so brilliant for me anymore. I truly thought he was different because of being a man of color and seeing prejudice first hand. The way he spoke I thought he really cared about positive changes that “we could believe in.” I suppose I was naive and wishful.

    You have my attention on this one Christopher, and I’m staying tuned as this should get interesting if somebody takes up Walpin’s cause.

  5. VicoDANIEL says:

    The irony is, AmeriCorps is a great organization.

    Hundreds of thousands of at risk young people have joined AmeriCorps and turned their lives around becoming public school teachers, social workers, and community activists involved in building homes, rehabbing schools, and organizing block watches.

    AmeriCorps tiny budget of $400 million is infinitesimal compared to the $800 billion in tax cuts for the rich Bush and the GOP passed.

    The calls for national service and volunteerism are American values and shouldn’t politicized by anyone — Republican or Democrat.


  6. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    So the message is clear: leave Obama’s supporters alone because if you don’t and you work for the Federal government, and you do your job, you could be fired.

    Didn’t Richard Nixon blaze this path too?

  7. Pingback: Gerald Walpin: Obama Inspector General Firing Scandal » Right Pundits

  8. .
    “The Chicago Way,” hunh? Subtle.

    For distinguished coverage such as this, this blog has won a Cosie Award this month. Thanks for your hospitality, also.

  9. NH says:

    It’s already a huge scandal. The public now knows this guy is working for the shadow bankers, Kissinger, Soros, Rockefeller, he’s handed them your 401Ks and has looted the treasury and just gave more money and control to the illegal fed.

    If you aren’t convinced by now this guy is not some megalomaniacal crook working for the Euro-trash banking oligarchy, I don’t know how we can knock the stupid out of you.

    We need nothing short of a military coup to remove this guy and his handlers and Congressional enablers…

  10. NH says:

    Now THOSE are Obama’s tax cuts for the rich —— Goldman, Sachs, Warburg, Rockefeller, Soros, Kissinger, Brzezinski, rich and criminal…

    The man is a FAKE, admit you made one big ass mistake America!

  11. The silent majority can’t be silent anymore! I remember Obama saying, “no one is above the law” so let’s take him at his word. He broke the law when firing Walpin and even he isn’t “above the law”.

    Thanks for writing a well researched article, I’ll be back to read more.

  12. TheRover says:

    Perhaps the “Heavy Meddle” rock star Obama does have that letter of explanation; it’s just tucked away with his birth certificate. One more thing we mere mortals can’t have access to.

  13. Pingback: Are You Freaking Stupid? » Obama wants to make sure Honduras stops following thier Constitution

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