Gerald Walpin has not taken his dismissal as Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service lying down yet, and apparently doesn’t plan to go quietly soon, either. Walpin filed a lawsuit against the CNCS for unlawful termination. He accuses the parent agency of AmeriCorps, and indirectly the administration, of politicizing his office and removing him illegally because he refused to agree to a settlement in a fraud case that let an Obama backer off the hook and with access to federal funding:
Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who was summarily fired in June amid controversy over his investigation of a politically-connected supporter of President Obama, has filed suit alleging that the firing was “unlawful,” “politically driven,” “procedurally defective” and “a transparent and clumsily-conducted effort to circumvent the protections” given to inspectors general under the Inspectors General Reform Act of 2008.
Walpin’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is against the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. Also named are Nicola Goren, the acting CEO of the Corporation, Frank Trinity, its general counsel, and Raymond Limon, the Corporation’s “chief human capital officer.” The suit asks the court to declare Walpin’s firing unlawful and restore him to his position as the Corporation’s inspector general. …
In the suit, Walpin alleges that all three actions were violations of the job protections given to inspectors general. “There have been at least three attempts to unlawfully remove Mr. Walpin from his post,” the suit says, “the first orally on June 10; the second by writing on June 11; and the third by writing on June 16.”
In addition, Walpin charges that the White House, in its eagerness to remove him for political purposes, never investigated the reasons it cited for the firing. “In the haste to remove Mr. Walpin from his post, not only were there…failures to comply with the statutorily-mandated procedures to preserve the integrity of the Inspector General post from politically motivated job actions,” the suit says, “no investigation was made into the facts alleged as the basis for Mr. Walpin’s termination. In particular, there was no attempt to interview Mr. Walpin or ay members of the staff of the Office of Inspector General who were personally involved in each of the [investigations], nor any of the board members.”
Walpin hasn’t asked for damages in this suit, at least not yet. He wants his attorney costs reimbursed, but mainly he wants the court to force the Obama administration to reinstate him as the IG. Such a determination would underscore the need for IGs to remain politically independent of the executive, especially once they discover fraud involving a presidential contributor.
How realistic would this be? A lawsuit may take years to resolve, and the Obama administration will certainly appeal any judgment against it, either verdicts or injunctions. Walpin is 77 years old now. Realistically speaking, Walpin has almost no chance of effectively winning back his job through the courts. His best hope would be a Republican takeover of Congress in 2010, followed by a real investigation into how Norman Eisen, Obama’s Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, tried to intimidate Walpin into resigning, and then smeared him as senile when that blew up in Eisen’s face.
Byron York has done a good job of sticking to this story; be sure to read all of his latest report and follow the links to his earlier reports. Here are the links to our earlier posts:
- Federal IGs object to attack on independence
- York: Walpin firing a railroad job
- How “confused and disoriented” was Walpin at that meeting?
- How to write a NYT article on an Obama controversy
- Obama has fired 2 IGs in 2 weeks, leashed another
- Sweet: Glenn Beck gives Gerald Walpin a senility test
- FBI probing obstruction of justice in related Walpin case; Update: Walpin breaks out the Obamateurism defense
- Obama playing hardball on Walpin as key Dem calls foul
- The curious firing of Gerald Walpin gets … curiouser
- Obama cronyism: Going after AmeriCorps IG on behalf of contributor; Update: A Michelle Obama connection?