Green Room

The Inspector General Story: It’s Real
– And (Potentially) Spectacular

posted at 10:28 am on July 14, 2009 by

Today at The American Spectator, I update the IG-Gate story:

Last week, when congressional investigators asked CNCS general counsel Frank Trinity about White House involvement in decision to fire [Corporation for National and Community Service Inspector General] Walpin, Trinity refused to answer, saying he was “not authorized” to discuss the subject. One Republican investigator said Democrat staffers participating in the interview of Trinity “were as upset as we were” at the CNCS lawyer’s refusal to talk about the role White House counsel Norman Eisen played in Walpin’s firing.
A subpoena to testify at a Senate committee hearing would be necessary to compel full disclosure in the case, which highlights the sensitive political considerations involved. Democrats are understandably averse to convening hearings — which, unlike background investigations conducted by staffers, are very public events — to ask questions about charges of wrongdoing by Obama administration officials. On the other hand, Democrats also don’t want to be accused of helping cover up wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the investigations continue, as staffers interview witnesses and pore over documents in the cases. So far, there is no clear proof of criminal malfeasance and sources caution against a media rush to “connect the dots,” but IG-Gate keeps chugging along.

(Please read the whole thing.) Three weeks ago, I joined Jimmie Bise and Dan Riehl on Rick Moran’s Blog Talk Radio Show, and Rick’s opening question was, “Is there a story here?”

The answer to that question is not merely “yes,” but “hell, yes.”

Ever since this story started making headlines five weeks ago — the White House gave Walpin his quit-or-be-fired ultimatum Wednesday, June 10 — I’ve gotten sick and tired of three typical responses from various ignoramuses:

  • “Will Obama be impeached?” — That is to say, people trying to race ahead of the facts and jump to conclusions that this is a vast conspiracy reaching straight to the Oval Office. However likely or unlikely that scenario might be, this kind of “connect-the-dots” crackpot stuff doesn’t actually move the story forward and has the unfortunate effect of creating an impression that this is a “Janet Reno Murdered Vince Foster” goose-chase ginned up by fringe conspiracy theorists.
  • “They’ll get away with it. They always do.” — The obverse of the impeachment enthusiasm is the cynical conclusion that, while serious crimes have probably been committed, the nefarious Democrats responsible will elude justice by a successful cover-up. Sorry, but my crystal ball has been out of order lately.
  • “The MSM will ignore it.” — This is the perhaps the most idiotic comment about IG-Gate, simply because the MSM have already reported extensively on the story. (The Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe has been all over it.) If you want to e-mail some MSM outlets and encourage them to do more reporting about IG-Gate, that would be an effective use of your time. But sitting around grumbling Eeyore-like about “liberal bias” is worse than useless, it’s counter-productive.

Look, just today, Matt Kelley of USA Today produced a 482-word story about the Amtrak IG case. Granted, he’s playing catch-up on stuff that was reported three weeks ago, but better late than never.

Think of it like a baseball game: Every little news item is like a base hit that keeps the rally going. There’s no need to worry because we haven’t seen the grand-slam homer of a “smoking gun.” Occasionally, Byron York will pound a double off the fence in right field and, so long as every batter in the lineup keeps swinging and making contact with the ball, there’s no limit to how many runs will be on the scoreboard at the end.

Ignorant people need to grab a fresh, hot cup of STFU and stop trying to predict the final score. At this point, the real work is being done by congressional investigators (and FBI agents) far away from the headlines, and I’m tired of hearing nonsense from people who don’t know anything more about the story than what they see in the news.

The people who really know what’s happening can’t tell reporters everything they know, and reporters can’t always report everything our sources tell us. But there are real investigations underway, and the coverage of these investigations is a real story. And today, I’m planning a trip to Capitol Hill to talk to “Deep Cleavage.”

To coin a phrase: Heh.

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Keep digging. Good reporting, BTW.

cs89 on July 14, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Hate to break this to ya, but the STFU crowd would be most of the HA community who are busy raising families and working jobs. This group comes here as a “some what informed audience,” who use this format to vent frustrations and built up anger built upon a foundation of what appears to be a lack of discipline coming from both parties running our government.

Venting is what most of us do here… Nothing more.

Keemo on July 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Venting is what most of us do here… Nothing more.

That’s OK. But it seems like every time I do something about IG-Gate, the first comment is from one of these Eeyores: “Oh, there’s no chance that anybody will ever investigate this because the liberal media . . .” blah blah blah.

I just get sick of that relentless ignorant pessimism, which tends toward self-fulfilling prophecy, and perhaps intentionally so. At some point, when it seems like anonymous people are purposefully trying to dismiss an investigation, the presumption of bona fides begins wearing thin and I start suspecting them of being false-flag concern trolls.

The Other McCain on July 14, 2009 at 11:24 AM

That’s awfully harsh. People often say they’ll get away with it and the MSM won’t report it because they’re discouraged and frustrated, not because they’re ignorant.

Daggett on July 14, 2009 at 11:45 AM

That’s OK. But it seems like every time I do something about IG-Gate, the first comment is from one of these Eeyores: “Oh, there’s no chance that anybody will ever investigate this because the liberal media . . .” blah blah blah.

So what you’re saying is this piece is an example of you venting… which is what those people are doing, too.

Daggett on July 14, 2009 at 11:46 AM

The Other McCain on July 14, 2009 at 11:24 AM

You are a truly gifted writer, and are one of the reasons I opted to revert back into commenter status only. You and several others (Doc Zero for sure) are in a class of your own. I realized that I was in a league I didn’t belong in.

I understand your frustrations, just want to remind you that we are frustrated also and venting here at HA is like medicine at times.

Keep up the good work!

Keemo on July 14, 2009 at 11:59 AM

So what you’re saying is this piece is an example of you venting… which is what those people are doing, too.

Daggett on July 14, 2009 at 11:46 AM

This is a very valid point that I hope will be considered. Good observation Daggett.

These are frightful times for most of us, times that we have not seen in our lifetime, which makes for the perfect storm of dark emotions. Fear is gripping much of the country. Fear leads to multiple opportunities for dark emotions to set in and take hold. Places like hotair could be vital for communications, organizing, and just plain old dumping of dark emotions…

Keemo on July 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Think of it like a baseball game

Can I have some of your steroids? Pretty please?

CK MacLeod on July 14, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Swing away McCain, swing away – you are truly serving the country with the investigative work you are doing on this case. I am rooting for a grand-slam. Thank you!!

Ris4victory on July 14, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Can I have some of your steroids? Pretty please?

CK MacLeod on July 14, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Damn CK, that’s funny… :)

Keemo on July 14, 2009 at 3:00 PM

look, i vent, too, but i also go to tea parties, work with my local Republican party here in the trenches, call my idjit congressman & Senators & keep informed at Virginia blogs as well as other national sites.

thanks for the info.

kelley in virginia on July 16, 2009 at 8:05 AM

I think very highly of OMs efforts but lemme ask about Gorelick, Raines, and Emmanuel returning the bonuses they “earned” from Fannie Mae. If we can’t get those guys thrown in jail for that…

mr1216 on July 21, 2009 at 6:22 PM