Did the DoJ play a role in AmeriCorps fix for Obama supporter?

posted at 11:30 am on August 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Byron York stays on the curious case of Gerald Walpin, the Inspector General who got fired shortly after objecting to a sweetheart deal for an Obama supporter.  Senator Jeff Sessions has taken an interest in the case and some evidence that the Department of Justice may have played an inappropriate role in cutting that deal, one not revealed by the White House.  York reports that the US Attorney for Sacramento made an odd public statement about stimulus funds for Sacramento, and now refuses to answer questions from Congress about it:

According to a senior Republican aide, Sessions’ interest was piqued by a statement made in a late March television interview by Rep. Doris Matsui, the Democratic congresswoman who represents Sacramento. Asked whether Johnson’s problems could prevent the city from receiving stimulus funds, Matsui said that, at Johnson’s request, she had “been in conversation with officials at the White House and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] and others to ensure that we don’t lose any money at all.”

Within days of Matsui’s statement, a settlement was reached. Johnson was unsuspended, and in a particularly unusual move, acting U.S. Attorney Brown issued a press release hailing the arrival of stimulus funds. “The lifting of the suspension against all parties, including Mayor Johnson, removes any cloud whether the City of Sacramento will be prevented form receiving much-needed federal stimulus funds,” Brown wrote.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee want to know why a U.S. attorney was touting his own actions in bringing stimulus money to the city. That’s not the normal role of prosecutors. “We need to hear whether the settlement in this case was tainted in any way by political influence or political factors,” says the senior Republican aide.

So far, Brown has refused to answer any questions. In June, Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a list of 20 questions to Brown and received no response. A follow-up in July was similarly ignored. “Your unwillingness to be cooperative with our investigation raises further questions about your role in this matter,” Issa wrote Brown.

Clearly, the administration cut the deal for political reasons.  Obama wanted stimulus dollars to flow to Sacramento, and Johnson’s record of defrauding the government prevented it, thanks to laws in place to keep federal funds from being given to people who have already abused it. That’s precisely why Walpin objected to the settlement in the first place — because it effectively neutered those laws in Johnson’s case.

The question here is what role a US Attorney played in circumventing those laws in order to win a political settlement for Obama.  The US Attorney has the responsibility to enforce those laws, not to find ways around them for people who violate the public trust.  If Rep. Matsui leaned on the White House and OMB, and then if the White House leaned on Brown, then that is an abuse of power, especially when conducted on behalf of a campaign supporter for Obama.  Brown’s refusal to answer implies that there may be fire along with the smoke on this matter.


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Gee, Chicago-type politics in the White House. Who would’ve thunk it? Good thing we dodged that Palin-bullet, though, isn’t it?

rmgraha on August 1, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Culture of Corruption.

I hope they fail.

Techie on August 1, 2009 at 11:37 AM

See its scandals like this that we should be pursuing Obama on and not his birth certificate.

Dreadnought223 on August 1, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Okay, but with the Dems in control of all investigative authority within Congress, won’t they just kill it? Or effectively delay it until it runs out of steam? I think John Murtha and Charlie Rangel can explain how that works…

BKeyser on August 1, 2009 at 11:39 AM

I’m pretty sure that transparency thing will kick in,..any minute now. As in House ethics investigations into Murtha or enthusiastic donk support in looking for other special VIP loan deals such as enjoyed by Dodd and Conrad.

a capella on August 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Here is an excellent read about the DOJ:

Eric Holder’s Justice Department
It’s all politics, all the time.

http://www.weeklystanEric Holder’s Justice Department dard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/799hlime.asp

ICBM on August 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM

How come our guys aren’t beating the drums on this?

petefrt on August 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Never mind that. It’s just a distraction. Quick! Look over there! Boooosh!

Guardian on August 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM

“PALOMINO!”

csdeven on August 1, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Change the party affiliation on these people to (R) and the media would be labeling this as “The story that won’t go away.”

perroviejo on August 1, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I’m sure Congress will be all over this with hearings and subpoenas. NOT!

jnelchef on August 1, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Thanks Ed, for having the courage to get the news out to the people, so that the people can be better informed and better prepared.

I can only speak for myself and my immediate family members, and I can tell you that we are all sick to our stomachs about the corruption that owns control over our government. Our trust in government has disappeared, entirely gone. The mafia might just as well be running this country directly from the sacred halls of Congress. Nancy Pelosi is pure scum, corrupt through every pore in her body. With Obama, Pelosi, and Reid in charge of our government, we are destined to face at least a generation of pain and suffering.

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 11:48 AM

If the Republicans look the other way with all of the lies and deceptions that are happening on a daily basis, then they deserve to be a non-issue in the future. The constant battery of hate and vicious slandering the dims did to Bush and the right for the past 8 years has finally paid off for what could be the the most corrupt administration in our country’s history. If the Republicans do not think this band of thieves will not destroy them and our country if they can, then they do not deserve to lead.

volsense on August 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Why do we pay these critters to write fourteen pounds of legislation? Are there that many bird cages in D.C.?

Limerick on August 1, 2009 at 11:57 AM

I don’t know what’s more troubling — the rank corruption, or the bumbling incompetence in trying to hide the rank corruption. These people are both criminals and idiots.

I fear for the future of our republic.

AZCoyote on August 1, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I might also add this:

At 55 years old, a generation is all I can hope for. I sure as hell didn’t want to spend the remaining years on this planet working hard to keep my head above water. Half of my retirement is gone, most of the equity in my home gone… Damn shame watching a bunch of corrupt lawyers bring so much damage to our nation. I say to hell with them all, lawyers have had their chance, their turn at the helm; every incumbent lawyer politician should be sent packing with each election cycle until the day comes when their only purpose is to give legal advise to the next generation of politicians.

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Crooked White House–crooked occupants and friends!

jeanie on August 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

This is why we must retake the House. Hold the corrupt crapweseals accountable.

Techie on August 1, 2009 at 12:10 PM

1992-2000 - Media uninterested in possible White House scandals.
2001-2008 - Media totally absorbed with possible White House scandals.
2009-… Media once again uninterested in possible White House scandals.

whitetop on August 1, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Brown’s refusal to answer implies that there may be fire along with the smoke on this matter.

Legally, at this point, Brown’s silence is assent.

In cases when the silent person is bound in good faith to explain himself, silence gives consent. When any person is accused of a crime, or charged with any fact, and he does not deny it, in general, the presumption is very strong that the charge is correct.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

You’re not alone there.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:17 PM

This situation is indeed puzzling given that DOJ also dropped the case against the Black Panthers voter intimidation scandal in Philly. If it is correct that within three days one of the Panthers cleared of the matter re-applied for and received authorization to “observe” at future voting stations, then our political situation has taken a decidedly ominous turn.

talking stick on August 1, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Limerick on August 1, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Time to cleanse the temple.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:18 PM

With Obama, Pelosi, and Reid in charge of our government, we are destined to face at least a generation of pain and suffering.

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Hail To The Chief

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Thank you Mr York for following and reporting on this story. Let the cleansing of government commence.

journeyintothewhirlwind on August 1, 2009 at 12:28 PM

How come our guys aren’t beating the drums on this?

petefrt on August 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Traditionally the elder statesmen and heroes kept up the line of offensive defense.

McCain “No Offense

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:28 PM

McCain “No Offense“

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:28 PM

The great people of Arizona must put this old cow out to pasture and replace him with a solid Conservative.

Hoping and Praying…

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Byron York frequently broadcasts from the Bill Bennett radio Morning in America show.

Very informative und sehr interessante.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Fodder for Michelle’s book. Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

Christian Conservative on August 1, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 12:31 PM

I do not understand why we are not hearing of J.R. Hayworth preparing to campaign against McCain for the AZ Senate seat. He has strong Congressional experience, and couldn’t be attacked as either incompetent or squishy.

AZ has been overrun by snowbirds from MN and the NorthEast and leftists from CA and illegal immigrants from south of the open border.

The AZ Republicans are legislating to sell the State Capitol buildings and other state properties (and then lease them) in order to prevent bankruptcy brought on by liberal spending. AS IF speculating in property values hasn’t already destroyed Arizona’s economy. Next, the state will rob graves to pay off debt. What ever happened to cutting services down to what the budget permits?! At least Sheriff Joe stays on budget as allocated by these grand legislators.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 12:44 PM

I keep repeating, the MSM is the absolute definition of insanity – keep doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results. They keep ignoring these stories, the absolute corruption at the heart of this administration and congress, while continuing to lose millions and teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, and expect different results. “Gee, we keep losing millions, let’s do more stories on Hope and Change.”

PatMac on August 1, 2009 at 12:50 PM

PatMac on August 1, 2009 at 12:50 PM

As you reference, the incessant reapplication of MSM distractions drives Americans into the high pressure zone of illnesses. The media has its agenda and is on target pressuring the populace to submit to criminal governance.

Insane, the public’s willing suspension of disbelief, just to get a moment’s repose that’s not to be had.

maverick muse on August 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Why do I think Barry won’t be running for re-election in 2012 if he’s done this many crooked things in 6 months. And while the DC Rino’s won’t have enough balls, even after the House turns in 2010, to oust him over the media’s cover, I do know someone who does. Which begs the question. How much dirt is Hillary collecting on Barry and his puppet masters, and is she vindictive enough to get Rahm put in jail???

phreshone on August 1, 2009 at 1:18 PM

How come our guys aren’t beating the drums on this?

petefrt on August 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Because “We the People” don’t have any guys.

doriangrey on August 1, 2009 at 1:25 PM

The mafia might just as well be Chicago machine is running this country directly from the slimy halls of Mayor Daley’s Chicagoland.
Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 11:48 AM

FIFY

VibrioCocci on August 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Of course the U.S. Attorney was in the loop on the deal. The DOJ touts its participation in the distribution of stimulus funding:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $2.7 billion to the Office of Justice Programs; $1 billion to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program; $225 million to the Office on Violence Against Women; and $10 million to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

DAG Holder did nothing when he was three times formally told, in 1997, 1999, and 2000, that intelligence sharing between intelligence agents and criminal investigators was not taking place because of the Wall. Reno/Gorelick instituted a policy that said AUSA’s could not be brought into the loop prior to a FBI agent titling someone yet now, on AG Holder’s watch, a U.S. Attorney was apparently brought into the loop prior to a criminal complaint.

Sergeant Tim on August 1, 2009 at 2:07 PM

VibrioCocci on August 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Gawd, how true that is..
OT did anyone notice the small headline on Drudge about the government re-writing the historical economic data? Orwell could not have predicted our demise any better…

ChicagoBlues on August 1, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Most prosecutors don’t make press statements touting the fact that they’ve circumvented the law.

mojo on August 1, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Obama wanted stimulus dollars to flow to Sacramento, and Johnson’s record of defrauding the government prevented it, thanks to laws in place to keep federal funds from being given to people who have already abused it.Johnson’s refusal to resign

Fixed

agmartin on August 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Why do we pay these critters to write fourteen pounds of legislation? Are there that many bird cages in D.C.?

Limerick on August 1, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Don’t worry. There are only three: Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court.

Loxodonta on August 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Byron York, thank you so much for keeping track of this and keeping us informed. And Ed, thanks for linking and you analysis as well.

Now, if only we could take back Congress in 2010, there could be so many hearings about the Chicago-style thuggery that’s been going on in DC since January and that the MSM seems completely oblivious to, for some reason.

Loxodonta on August 1, 2009 at 7:30 PM

every incumbent lawyer politician should be sent packing with each election cycle until the day comes when their only purpose is to give legal advise to the next generation of politicians
Stretch a rope and hold down a metal box six feet under

Keemo on August 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

FIXED!

dhunter on August 1, 2009 at 8:52 PM

“Gee, we keep losing millions, let’s do more stories on Hope and Change.”

PatMac on August 1, 2009 at 12:50 PM

They will be bailed out by “Pinnochio”, “Hope and Change”, and the takeover will almost be complete

dhunter on August 1, 2009 at 8:57 PM

2001-2008 – Media totally absorbed with possible White House scandals.

The un-named, un-known scandals, about un-named, un-known, un-stated crimes, that may or may not have been committed?

Is that what your talking about?

DSchoen on August 2, 2009 at 4:57 AM

There’s so much corruption and abuse of power by this White House, it’s hard to keep one’s sense of outrage.

theCork on August 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM