Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Give Gerald Walpin his job back!

Ed Morrissey at has done an excellent job of covering the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin by the White House here, here and here.  Today he has more:
In June, the White House fired Gerald Walpin as Inspector-General of the Corporation for National and Community Service after he objected to an unusually-favorable settlement of fraud charges against a Barack Obama ally in Sacramento. The Obama administration insisted that Walpin got fired for instability and strongly hinted that Walpin was senile, but a series of actions against IGs seemed to show that Obama had decided to attack their independence. Yesterday, the IGs struck back by clearing Walpin of the White House’s allegations through their professional board, and now Walpin wants his job back
Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general fired by the White House in July during his probe of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has been cleared of a complaint by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento that he had acted improperly.

Now, he says, he wants his job back. …

Walpin filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., in July alleging that he was fired improperly while investigating whether Johnson had misused federal grant funds. The government is trying to have the case dismissed, but Walpin filed documents in court late Monday opposing that.

Among the documents was an Oct. 19 letter from the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency telling him that the probe against him had been closed.

“After carefully considering the allegations described in the complaint together with your response, the IC determined that the response sufficiently and satisfactorily addressed the matter and that further inquiry or an investigation regarding the matter was not warranted,” committee Chairman Kevin L. Perkins wrote.
Senators Grassley and Kyl are not happy with Department of Justice stonewalling of their requests for more information on the firing.  From Main Justice:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has garnered a new ally in his quest to get answers to questions he and other Senate Judiciary Committee members have asked the Justice Department over the past few years.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) joined his fellow panel Republican on the Senate floor yesterday to criticize DOJ’s handling of committee inquiries — including his own questions.

“I voted for Attorney General [Eric] Holder, and we had several conversations about being forthcoming in responding to our requests for information,” Kyl said on the Senate floor. “I thought at the time he would be able to work with us and provide those kinds of answers and support. Yet I have been disappointed, as Senator Grassley has been.” (snip)
Grassley said on the Senate floor yesterday that he received a DOJ response last Friday to questions he asked Holder in June. But he said it was “totally inadequate.”

“Instead of answering the 24 questions, the Department responded with a five-paragraph recitation of publicly available facts and information,” Grassley said. “The Department also said it would respond under separate cover to the document requests. I appreciate the Department’s comments that it intends to respond to my requests, but I am very concerned this is more of the same problem Chairman Leahy and I were trying to get at with our letter just 2 weeks ago.”

He added: “This is a prime example of what is wrong with the inadequate responses to all our questions. They avoid the question and filibuster with public facts.”
Morrissey believes the White House might want to get out from under this as quickly as possible.  He concludes
The IGs have not been fooled. In an administration that has czars bursting out of its seams, IGs represent a threat to their power. They have given the Obama administration a bloody nose, and Walpin that much more ammunition for a court case Obama would be well advised to settle at any cost now.
President Obama, do the right thing.  Reinstate this honorable public servant and watchdog for the people now.

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