In June, the White House fired Gerald Walpin as Inspector-General of the Corporation for National and Community Service after he objected to an unusually-favorable settlement of fraud charges against a Barack Obama ally in Sacramento. The Obama administration insisted that Walpin got fired for instability and strongly hinted that Walpin was senile, but a series of actions against IGs seemed to show that Obama had decided to attack their independence. Yesterday, the IGs struck back by clearing Walpin of the White House’s allegations through their professional board, and now Walpin wants his job back:
Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general fired by the White House in July during his probe of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has been cleared of a complaint by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento that he had acted improperly.
Now, he says, he wants his job back. …
Walpin filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., in July alleging that he was fired improperly while investigating whether Johnson had misused federal grant funds. The government is trying to have the case dismissed, but Walpin filed documents in court late Monday opposing that.
Among the documents was an Oct. 19 letter from the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency telling him that the probe against him had been closed.
“After carefully considering the allegations described in the complaint together with your response, the IC determined that the response sufficiently and satisfactorily addressed the matter and that further inquiry or an investigation regarding the matter was not warranted,” committee Chairman Kevin L. Perkins wrote.
The entire matter revolves around Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and an earlier finding of fraud against him by the CNCS. Johnson admitted that federal funds got misused and had to repay over $400,000. Instead of barring Johnson from handling federal CNCS funds, which would have been the normal action but would have deprived Sacramento of those monies as long as Johnson was mayor, the White House overlooked it — and Walpin was determined to find out why.
For having the temerity to point out the obvious — that Johnson got favorable treatment because of his alliance with Obama — Walpin not only got fired, but also got slandered as non compos mentis when the White House decided to play The Chicago Way. Had someone in a private corporation tried that in an employment dispute, this administration’s EEOC would have leaped to Walpin’s defense, filing charges of age discrimination faster than one can say Geritol. Instead, Obama and his team decided to destroy Walpin for his independence as the first salvo against Inspectors General and independent review of executive power in the federal government.
The IGs have not been fooled. In an administration that has czars bursting out of its seams, IGs represent a threat to their power. They have given the Obama administration a bloody nose, and Walpin that much more ammunition for a court case Obama would be well advised to settle at any cost now.