Walpin-gate swings wide open

Two big new twists on anniversary of IG firing

The Washington Times

One year to the day after illegally firing AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, the Obama administration is scrambling to ward off further embarrassments related to the case. On Friday, Mr. Walpin’s lawsuit for reinstatement moved forward another step. For this tempest to be raging a full year later shows how badly the administration botched the situation from the start.

On June 11, 2009, President Obama fired Mr. Walpin without explanation to Congress despite having co-sponsored a law as senator that required such an explanation before an inspector general could be dismissed. The most public dispute between the administration and Mr. Walpin involved the IG’s efforts to sanction Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and self-proclaimed friend of the first couple, for a series of ethical and financial improprieties in Mr. Johnson’s use of AmeriCorps grants.

On June 9, 2010, The Washington Times broke the story that AmeriCorps’ parent, Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), ignored its own sanctions against Mr. Johnson for infractions admitted by the mayor by featuring him in an honored speaking slot at the upcoming National Conference on Volunteering and Service June 28 through 30 in New York. By June 11 – the anniversary of the firing – CNCS executives made a series of frantic phone calls that resulted in Mr. Johnson being scrubbed from the list of speakers and removed from the website. The remaining questions are: Who invited Mr. Johnson in the first place, and why?…

…On Friday…Mr. Walpin explained its broader importance. “The longer this case sits idly on the [judge’s] docket,” he said, “the clearer the message is to other IGs that … protections Congress granted them against political interference are in doubt.”

That’s what this case really is about. Inspectors general are meant to serve as independent watchdogs against corruption. The administration wants IGs to be lapdogs. By taking on an honorable bulldog such as Mr. Walpin, the administration has focused more attention, not less, on the breadth of its politicized shenanigans.

The entire article is at the Washington Times.

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