When Good Is Bad, Obama Fires IG

In what will become the most unreported action by President Obama, in his supposedly open and honest administration, Chicago-style politics rears its ugly head yet again. The president removed the Inspector General in charge of overseeing how government grant money is spent after he found discrepancies. After he found the abuse of public funds, the U.S. Attorney balked at having the justice department take a look at it.

Obama’s move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star, into the misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group that Johnson headed.

Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, a nonprofit group that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.

The IG becomes the focus of the story, that the matter wasn’t handled right, instead of the corruption of the person responsible for handling the public funds.

Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) felt an explanation was needed, since the IG had identified millions of dollars that were mis-appropriated.  White House Counsel Gregory Craig, in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, cited the U.S. attorney’s criticism of Walpin to an integrity committee for inspectors general.

In the end, Chicago style politics takes the day. The bad guy is good, and the good guy is bad. Keeping the matter out of the courts and out of the media, the U.S. Attorney worked out a ‘deal.’

The U.S. attorney’s office reached a settlement in the matter. Brown cited press accounts that said Johnson and the nonprofit would repay half of nearly $850,000 in grants it received.

This is not change. This is more of the same.

3 thoughts on “When Good Is Bad, Obama Fires IG”

  1. George Orwell was was only off by 25 years. Pretty scary stuff, now that the wolves are watching the hen house.

  2. Yeah. In this article, the Time’s defense and/or the administration’s defense for firing the IG seems to be in these two paragraphs. Notice that neither of them comply with the law regarding supplying just cause for a termination of an IG and 30 days notice for an investigation of same.

    Also, neither of them address the law with respect that payments to the organization be stopped, which I believe was Walpin’s only point. Seems to me that US Atty. Lawrence G. Brown is doing what he is accusing the IG of doing, acting as investigator, advocate, judge, jury and town crier.

    Then there’s the second para. That Walpin didn’t report what they had done right reflected some kind of incompetence or bias is really amazing. Auditors look for discrepancies. It is expected that the business entity do things right.

    The acting United States attorney, Lawrence G. Brown, complained in a letter to the ethics officer for inspectors general that after he decided to settle the case without criminal charges, Mr. Walpin acted improperly. Mr. Walpin, he said, continued to campaign via news releases for a prosecution and barring the two men from receiving contracts. Mr. Walpin, he said, “sought to act as the investigator, advocate, judge, jury and town crier.”

    He also said that Mr. Walpin had been given testimony that showed some of the money had been properly spent but that the evidence was deliberately excluded from his report.

    Walpin seems to have been denied his due process. That, and the obvious attempt to paint him as mildly insane over a May 20 meeting where he acted ‘confused, disoriented.’ I see that nearly every day that at White House press briefings by Robert Gibbs.

    My point is the Chicago-style politics that is being waged against Walpin who only did his job. The US Atty can make a deal with the mayor/democrat contributor if that’s what he wants to do. He has that right. But to go after the IG, to discredit him, to fire him outside of the law, is what is wrong. But, totally expected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *