Skip to comments.Breaking: IG Fired by Obama Wants Congressional Hearing on His Case
Posted on 06/22/2009 2:48:23 PM PDT by BP2
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is seeking information from AmeriCorps about the Walpin firing. The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee is also seeking information on documents that had allegedly been withheld from Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (SIGTARP), the $700-billion financial bailout package launched last fall.
Grassley this week also filed a request for all documents that might demonstrate what role the office of First Lady Michelle Obama played in the firing of Walpin, if any. The First ladys former chief of staff, Jackie Norris, is expected to join AmeriCorps as the senior adviser next week. (See Previous Story.)
Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is asking the administration to provide more information on the AmeriCorps matter.
Regarding his case, Walpin would like to see a congressional investigation to lay out all the facts.
I would very much like for the American public to know all the facts, instead of how it has so far not been disclosed in response to Sen. Grassleys and Congressman Issas letters, Walpin said in an interview. My view is that as with Teddy Roosevelt that sunshine is the best disinfectant. I think it is terrible what happened here to the IG, the institution as a whole."
"My firing has a chilling effect on other IGs," he said. "The best way to handle that--aside from President Obama admitting that he made a mistake--is to have a congressional hearing so that all facts can be put out for the public to see.
He said that he believed the Democratic majority in Congress would support an investigation.
I have great hopes that Democrats, like Republicans, believe in the integrity of the system and believe that the IG system must be protected, he said. I have hopes. I hope they wont disappoint me.
An independent office?
The Treasury Department has asked the Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel to clarify the special inspector generals legal status within the executive branch.
In April, Barofsky sent a memo to the Treasury regarding the DOJ inquiry, addressing the issues of attorney-client privilege and whether the special inspector general is subject to supervision by the Treasury Department.
SIGTARP does not object to your plan to seek guidance from the OLC, however, as discussed below, SIGTARP believes the Emergency Economic Stability Act of 2008 provides SIGTARP is an independent entity within the Treasury, that SIGTARP is not subject to the secretarys supervision, and that attorney-client privilege is not a bar to access to Treasurys records or information, Barofsky wrote. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed any connection regarding the AmeriCorps firing and the TARP matter.
The president believes that inspectors general fulfill a unique and important role in ensuring that programs operate with efficiency, Gibbs told reporters during the daily briefing on Friday. No attorney-client privilege has ever been evoked. No documents sought have been withheld. The DOJ review is not related to a particular investigation. It is sorting out the legal issues relating to the creation of this office.
He added, We have outlined the reasons why the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service was not retained.
Gibbs later responded to a question as to whether someone could infer a trend with the Obama administration and inspectors general.
If they inferred it, it would be an incorrect inference, Gibbs told CNSNews.com.
Walpin said the White House called him confused and disoriented for lack of a legitimate reason for the termination.
I think its absolutely desperation on their part, Walpin said. The first reason they gave me for my termination was that the president thought I ought to move on. The second reason the president expressed was that he lost confidence in me. That was in a letter to Congress. Of course thats not a reason, thats a conclusion.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees inspectors general, was the lead sponsor of the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008, which Obama co-sponsored as a senator. The law requires that the president give Congress 30-days notice before dismissing an inspector general and provide Congress with an explanation of why such action is necessary. Initially, Obama only told congressional leaders he lost confidence in Walpin.
McCaskill, in a statement last week, said the White House did not offer a sufficient explanation under the law. So that same day, White House Counsel Norman Eisen sent a letter to the Homeland Security Committee providing further reasons.
Mr. Walpin was removed after a review was unanimously requested by the bi-partisan Board of the Corporation, Eisen wrote. The boards action was precipitated by a May 20, 2009 board meeting at which Mr. Walpin was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the board to question his capacity to serve.
In regard to claims he was confused, Walpin said: Well, I can only say to you that those are code words for a desperation attack on somebody who is--Im not a young man, Ill be 78 in September--those are code words to suggest or imply that Im senile.
This is desperation. They never believed I would do anything but resign to avoid the mud that is thrown at somebody who stands up to the most powerful person in this country, Walpin said. I did this as a matter of principle. I believed that I could not look myself in the mirror if I gave in.
No one with the agency or the administration contacted him about being disoriented or his job performance, Walpin said.
Lets assume theyre even right--which I say is not correct--they and the corporation have met with me hundreds of times, Walpin said. Not one occasion have they ever said anything but that Im very eloquent. Indeed, on the Tuesday before I was fired, one of the top management people in the corporation begged me to go out to San Francisco and speak to 2,0000 members of their staff and grantees at a conference because they thought my ability to speak was so great.
Last Wednesday, after the White House released Eisen's letter further explaining the president's firing of Walpin, Sen. McCaskill issued a statement, in which she said that the White House's explanation for the removal of Walpin seemd "well-founded," while suggesting that Congress "undertake any further review that might be necessary."
Last night, in response to my request for adequate information on the firing of Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service Gerald Walpin, the White House submitted a letter to Senators Lieberman and Collins that now puts the White House in full compliance with the notice requirement in the law," said Sen. McCaskill.
"The next step for Congress is to use the 30 days provided by the notice to seek further information and undertake any further review that might be necessary," said Sen. McCaskill. "The reasons given in the most recent White House letter are substantial and the decision to remove Walpin appears well founded.
Well he has more nads than the entire republican party
Imagine if this was Bush doing this. Olberman and DU would be screaming!!!!
Popcorn, Two Large Bags, extra Butter...
That he does.
Let there be light.........
And on the 8th day, the truth was exposed
As the new owners of our Republic would say: Good Ruck.
There was a thread earlier today about people in the Zero administration who were wishing Bush would speak out more. Of course they only want Bush to speak so the media would go after him and give Zero some cover for his failures.
I can understand the Republicans though. Historically, they've always stepped back and let the opposition hang itself.
Wonder where the remaining Republicans stand on this. /sarc
I hope they are talking about an office she had before she was first lady. The first lady doesn't HAVE an office, the only one who was elected(and his legality is in question)was Bozo.
MSNBC will ratchet up the smears on Walpin big time now. Obama’s lil’ Geobbels will be working 24/7 until the job is done.
This is a flat out lie. The letter has to be sent 30 days before firing not a week or so after they are fired. To be in compliance with the law they would have to rehire him and then give notice and they would have to prove the allegations.
And neither are we!
Obama is stirring up far more “gates” than Nixon ever did with Watergate and in just 5 months.
BTW Obama, where’s your birth certificate?
Re: “Good to see Mr. Walpin isn’t intimidated by the Obama slime machine!”
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