Was Walpin on the trail of hush money when Obama fired him?

posted at 11:36 am on November 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Why did the White House act so quickly to fire Gerald Walpin and attempt to discredit him with allegations of senility?  Until now, it appeared that the Obama administration got angry with Walpin for publicly opposing a settlement with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson on allegations of fraud in handling federal funds that would have allowed Johnson to continue to receive such funds.  Now, however, the Washington Examiner reports that a Congressional inquiry has discovered that Johnson may have used that money to pay off women accusing him of sexual harassment — and that Walpin had gotten too close to the truth:

In the spring of 2008, Walpin’s office received a tip that Johnson had misused AmeriCorps money. Walpin sent two investigators to Sacramento to check the story out. They discovered that money had in fact been misused, and also learned of the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by Johnson.

In August 2008, at the time Walpin referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney, he also presented the evidence of misuse of federal money to officials at the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps. In September 2008, those officials barred Johnson from receiving any more federal money.

All this was happening as Johnson was running for mayor of Sacramento, a race he won in November 2008. Johnson’s suspension from receiving federal money became a hot issue in early 2009 after Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus bill. Many people in Sacramento worried that the city would not be able to get its share of that money if the mayor was banned from receiving federal dollars. …

The new report strongly suggests that Walpin was in fact fired because of the dispute over St. Hope and concludes that the White House “orchestrated an after-the-fact smear campaign to justify” Walpin’s dismissal.

The report says the allegations of sexual misconduct and a cover-up “provide important context for Walpin’s insistence that the St. Hope matter should not have been settled without further inquiry.” In light of those allegations, the report says, complaints that Walpin was being too aggressive seem unfounded. “The content of the referral tends to undermine any notion that the [inspector general’s] investigation was driven by inappropriate motives on the part of Walpin,” the report says. “Rather, it appears to have been driven by non-political, career investigators simply following the facts.”

Who allegedly arranged for the transfer of hush money? In one of the stranger twists in an already strange story, Johnson’s fiancee Michelle Rhee — better known now as the head of the Washington DC school district:

At the time, Rhee was on the board of St. Hope. A former St. Hope employee who reported one of the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by Johnson told Walpin’s investigators that Rhee “learned of the allegations and played the role of a fixer, doing ‘damage control,'” the congressional report says.

The employee told investigators that Rhee told her that “she was making this her number one priority, and she would take care of the situation.” A short time later, the employee learned that the girl who had complained about Johnson had received a visit from Johnson’s personal attorney.

The congressional report quotes the girl as saying the attorney “basically asked me to keep quiet,” and Johnson offered her $1,000 a month for the duration of her time with St. Hope. Once investigators learned about that, the report says, they had “reasonable suspicions about potential hush money payments and witness tampering at a federally funded entity.”

In other words,Walpin had plenty of reason to oppose the slap on the wrist that Johnson received.  It wasn’t just the initial misuse of federal funds, but a reasonable suspicion that Johnson and Rhee used the money for personal payoffs to keep Johnson’s bid for mayor alive.

Not only does Congress need to investigate the firing of Walpin in and of itself, it needs to open an investigation into the Corporation for National and Community Service and how much the White House knew of Walpin’s suspicions.  If they fired Walpin and publicly smeared him to protect Johnson, an Obama ally, then heads have to roll.  Be sure to read it all.

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Looks like The Boss needs an addendum to her book.

kurtzz3 on November 20, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Surely we have enough NOW to impeach Obummer. Along with his corrupt wife. Too bad about the girls. How do you explain “Daddy was President then went to jail.”

riverrat10k on November 20, 2009 at 3:28 PM

This little gem must send a thrill up Stacy (The Other McCain) McCain’s leg. He worked like a madman on this story for at least a couple of months. Gotta see if he’s posted on this yet in the Green Room!

marybel on November 20, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Time to impeach! We already know he is not a natural-born citizen of the US. Let’s get on with this.

BetseyRoss on November 20, 2009 at 4:49 PM

The fact that Ms. Rhee is involved could give this some legs no has counted on. Her improvements in the D.C. schools have caused major heartburn among the entrenched Left within the school system. I bet they would be thrilled to add fuel to this fire. Sorry if I am repeating a point someone has already brought up.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2009 at 4:54 PM

The state-run media will get right on this…

A shame about Walpin. I find the same at work, the good get layed off or even fired, while the kiss-ass lazies get to stay infinidum. Here’s hoping Walpin gets his day in court – slim chance to none.

Annie on November 20, 2009 at 5:06 PM

I’m beginning to wonder if there is a secondary standard for elected blacks, that they are ‘just that way’ and the culture expects this kind of sleaze from them. Tell me this not the case.

leftnomore on November 20, 2009 at 5:36 PM

The congressional report quotes the girl as saying the attorney “basically asked me to keep quiet,” and Johnson offered her $1,000 a month for the duration of her time with St. Hope

Didn’t have time to read through all the comments but doesn’t this seem to indicate that a minor was involved.

chemman on November 20, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Was Walpin on the trail of hush money when Obama fired him?


nelsonknows on November 20, 2009 at 6:40 PM

What did he know and when did he know it?

exdeadhead on November 20, 2009 at 9:24 PM

I’m sure Eric Holder will get right on this. Hahahahahahaha!!!

GarandFan on November 20, 2009 at 9:50 PM

St. Hope is broke.
— It appears Kevin Johnson is a teenage girl groomer from as far back as 1995. Maybe he took Kobe Bryant’s own grooming and subsequent marriage of a high school girl to heart?

As for Rhee, the changes she proposed to the teachers union, and Obama’s own dept of ed Race to the Top, equal billions of dollars in bribes. If LA can get $300 million for a socialized health care vote, so too can the administration in education and all their like minded superintendents or chancellors across the nation get pay-to-play deals to cut out the union middle man in advertised “teacher performance” review systems.
— See Rev. Meeks in Chicago.

FeFe on November 22, 2009 at 10:01 PM