The Inspector General Story: It’s Real
— And (Potentially) Spectacular
posted at 10:28 am on July 14, 2009 by The Other McCain
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.
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.