Skip to comments.Battle lines drawn in AmeriCorps IG scandal
Posted on 07/03/2009 6:24:56 AM PDT by Dubya-M-DeesWent2SyriaStupid!
Key Republicans in both the House and the Senate are accusing the White House of giving incomplete and misleading information to investigators probing the presidents abrupt firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. In return, the White House is hinting that documents concerning its actions in the Walpin affair may be protected by executive privilege.
Both developments are part of an escalating conflict between GOP lawmakers and the Obama administration. Republicans are deeply skeptical of the White House explanation for the June 10 firing of Walpin, a tough investigator who had been probing misuse of AmeriCorps money by Sacramento, Calif., mayor and prominent Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. And the administration seems determined to conceal its dealings with AmeriCorps and the organization that oversees it, the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Walpin was dismissed without warning on June 10, when he received a call from Norman Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform. Eisen told Walpin he had one hour either to resign or be fired an apparent violation of a law giving special job protections to inspectors general. When Walpin refused to quit, he was terminated.
After lawmakers demanded an explanation, the White House said Walpin had been confused, disoriented [and] unable to answer questions at a May 20 meeting with the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Johnson case was discussed at that meeting, with Walpin harshly criticizing board members for their support of a decision to let Johnson off easy.
Theres no question that members of the board, both Democrat and Republican, were unhappy with Walpins criticism of them. They agreed that Alan Solomont, the Democratic fundraiser appointed by President Barack Obama as chairman of the board, should tell the White House what had happened.
But now, at least three board members have told congressional investigators they did not specifically recommend that the administration fire Walpin. Instead, they simply wanted the chairman to express their concerns.
The White House claims it investigated the matter; Eisen told House and Senate aides that officials did an extensive review of complaints about Walpins performance before deciding to fire him. But there are serious doubts as to whether the White House did, in fact, conduct a serious investigation before getting rid of Walpin.
The three board members have told Congress that the White House did not contact them during the review. (One was told about Walpins firing at about the time it happened, and the other two were contacted days later.) No one from the White House contacted Walpin himself, or his top assistant, as part of the review.
All were present at the contentious May 20 meeting. If officials at the White House were really trying to discover what happened at that session, congressional investigators say, it would have wanted to hear their version of events. But no questions were asked.
In particular, investigators are puzzled by the White Houses failure to contact Walpin concerning the charge that he was confused and disoriented at the meeting. Was he, in fact, confused? If so, was it the result of some medical condition or other problem the board might not have known about? Some other distraction? The White House never asked.
All in all, the extensive review appeared more of a sham review an exercise designed to support a decision that had already been made. Nor has the White House been open about it. Information provided to my staff by Mr. Eisen has been incomplete and misleading, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa wrote in a July 1 letter to White House counsel Gregory Craig.
For its part, the White House is hinting broadly that it might invoke executive privilege to keep documents from Congress. Your questions seek information about the White Houses internal decision-making process, Craig wrote to Sen. Charles Grassley on June 30. These questions implicate core executive branch confidentiality interests. At another point, Craig pledged to cooperate to the fullest extent possible consistent with constitutional and statutory obligations.
The message, apparently, is for GOP investigators to back off. But that hasnt happened. In his letter to the White House, Issa is still trying to get information. The White Houses willingness to provide the facts about the Walpin firing, wrote Issa, will go a long way to demonstrate the president is committed to running the most transparent White House in history.
Byron York, The Examiners chief political correspondent, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears on Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blog posts can be read daily at ExaminerPolitics.com.
Meanwhile, the investigation of Bush’s executive privilege of firing 9 politically apppointed states’ attorneys is still ongoing...
Maybe HuffPo can take up the fight
" Gerald Walpin, the former AmeriCorps inspector general who was fired after appearing confused at a meeting, has some pretty important friends coming to his defense. Some 145 of them, including political foes, have written Congress and the White House to refute attacks on his integrity in the controversy over why he was fired by the Obama administration.
"We have never seen Mr. Walpin to be 'confused, disoriented, [or] unable to answer questions,' " wrote the 145, who include former federal judges and even Democrats like Bernie Nussbaum, former President Clinton's first White House counsel ".
Secrecy is transparency.
Another Orwellian prophecy that has come true in Chairman Obama’s reign.
Key Republicans in both the House and the Senate are accusing the White House of giving "incomplete and misleading" information to investigators probing the president's abrupt firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. In return, the White House is hinting that documents concerning its actions in the Walpin affair may be protected by executive privilege.
Here we go again.
Scumbag in Chief wants to cover his tracks, so he claims EP on a matter that has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept.
The leftist media will pretend none of it is happening.
Who in the administration does it point to? Can't seem to find much information on that part of the investigation.
How far will this man be allowed to take over and be in charge of all? Czars and all?
That morph is excellent. Did you do it?
That is really freaky. Are they brothers?
Okay...I am officially FReaked out by that most excellent morph.
It is really freaky.
He doesn’t need to lose the mole on his nose.
It just needs to move to his forhead.
Maybe I should have made it travel...
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