Did the Obama administration rush to close a probe into fraud committed by a political ally before discovering obstruction of justice? The Sacramento Bee reports that a former official at St. HOPE alleges that now-Mayor Kevin Johnson’s emails relating to the fraudulent use of money were deleted from the servers in order to obstruct the investigation that Gerald Walpin conducted:
The FBI’s Sacramento division is investigating a former St. HOPE executive’s allegations of obstruction of justice, Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown confirmed Tuesday.
The news fuels the controversy that has followed Mayor Kevin Johnson since 2008, when his brainchild St. HOPE Academy first was investigated for misuse of public funds.
That investigation appeared to end in April when Brown’s office announced a settlement with Johnson, St. HOPE and former executive director Dana Gonzalez.
The settlement, hotly contested by the office of the inspector general for the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, required the repayment of more than $400,000 in misused grants for AmeriCorps volunteers.
However, Rick Maya, who officially left his position as executive director with St. HOPE last week, alleged in an April resignation letter that a member of the charter schools’ board deleted Johnson’s e-mails during the federal investigation. Those claims, uncovered by a public records request by The Bee, caught the interest of Brown’s office, who asked the FBI’s Sacramento division to look into it.
Gerald Walpin ran afoul of the Obama administration when he balked at the settlement talks, angry that Johnson didn’t have to return all the money he admitted to gaining from the government through fraud — and that he would once again be allowed to manage federal funds at all. He reported on his dissent to Congress, after which the White House attempted to bully him into resigning. When that didn’t work, the White House then announced that Walpin was incompetent and strongly suggested that he was senile as well.
Now, it looks like the White House is the one with a cognitive problem. It seems that they rushed a conclusion to the investigation without checking on the cooperation of the accused or even determining whether they had seen all of the evidence. And when the independent Inspector General tried to make that very point, the White House attacked him instead of the person who defrauded the government and may have obstructed justice on top of it.
Democrats screeched about the politicization of the Department of Justice when Bush asked for the resignations of political appointees who worked completely at his pleasure. They assumed that Bush wanted the US Attorneys out of the way for political reasons. Here we have a White House attacking an IG, authorized by both Congress and the White House and supposedly independent, for objecting to a political payoff for a high-profile Obama supporter. When do we hear that same outrage over politicization of law enforcement?
Update: No matter which way you go on the Walpin case, you have to admire the man’s huevos grandes:
In the letter, White House Special Counsel Norman Eisen wrote that Walpin was “confused” and “disoriented” at a May board meeting, was “unduly disruptive,” and exhibited a “lack of candor” in providing information to decision makers.
“That’s a total lie,” Walpin said of the latter charge. And he said the accusation that he was dazed and confused at one meeting out of many was not only false, but poor rationale for his ouster.
“It appears to suggest that I was removed because I was disabled — based on one occasion out of hundreds,” he said.
“I would never say President Obama doesn’t have the capacity to continue to serve because of his (statement) that there are 56 states,” Walpin said, adding that the same holds for Vice President Biden and his “many express confusions that have been highlighted by the media.” Obama mistakenly said once on the campaign trail that he had traveled to 57 states.
Come on, Inspector Walpin. Can’t a man just eat his waffle?