The blogosphere looks into the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin.
President Obama promised he would end “Washington games.” But his abrupt firing of the AmeriCorps inspector general is more of the same. The brewing scandal smells like the Beltway cronyism of the Bush years. And the apparent meddling of First Lady Michelle Obama in the matter smacks of the corruption of the Clinton years.
If Obama keeps up with this “change,” we’ll be back to the Watergate era by Christmas.
John Hinderaker at Powerline:
Walpin, who by statute is supposed to be independent of White House control, ran afoul of Obama because he investigated a charity operated by former pro basketball player Kevin Johnson, a prominent Obama supporter. The non-profit, St. Hope, received an $850,000 grant from AmeriCorps. Walpin investigated what St. Hope did with the money and concluded that much of it was improperly spent, e.g. to pay recipients to wash Johnson’s car. The result of Walpin’s investigation was that St. Hope agreed to repay half the money it got from AmeriCorps. However, since St. Hope is insolvent, AmeriCorps is unlikely to get its money back. The acting U.S. Attorney in Sacramento declined to criminally prosecute anyone in connection with these events.
Apparently in retaliation for having put the heat on an Obama supporter, the President had Norman Eisen, a Special Counsel to the President, telephone Walpin and demand that he resign within an hour. Walpin, pointing out that he is not a political appointee and does not serve at the President’s pleasure, declined to do so. So Obama fired him. By statute, Obama is required to give Congress 30 days’ written notice of his intention to fire an inspector general and set forth his reasons for doing so. Obama failed to comply with that aspect of the statute, merely saying that Walpin no longer has the President’s “fullest confidence.” That would be sufficient reason to replace a political appointee, but not to fire an inspector general. The Obama administration first denied, but now admits, that the President is firing Walpin because of the St. Hope affair.
As Ed Morrissey noted, believing that this was the White House’s primary motive requires that you believe that the administration’s instinctive, immediate reaction to seeing an employee come down with a debilitating disease is to fire them. Yes. That is precisely the thing that one does when one wishes to maintain a reputation for empathy and tolerance. I can’t say that I have as much difficulty as Michelle Malkin reconciling the allegation of Walpin’s mental diminished capacity with his public appearances (see the video above), mostly because neither I nor Ms. Malkin can take it at all seriously…
Benjamin Sarlin in the Daily Beast
Mark Hemingway at The Corner
UPDATE #2: Joe Conason in Salon
UPDATE #3: Andy McCarthy at The Corner
UPDATE #4: Zachary Roth in TPM
UPDATE #6: Ed Morrissey
Jake Tapper at ABC
UPDATE #7: Byron York at Washington Examiner
UPDATE #8: More York
UPDATE #9: Washington Times
UPDATE #10: Washington Times
UPDATE #11: Josh Gerstein at Politico
Byron York at Washington Examiner