Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Senator Obama voted for the legislation requiring specific notification to Congress of the reasons to dismiss an inspector general. Any move to fire an inspector general requires 30-days notice. Obama voted for the law to strengthen the independence of inspectors general.
President Obama fired the inspector general of AmeriCorp, Gerald Halpin, without the 30 day notice and no reason, which was also required by the law Obama voted on. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, criticized Obama for failing to specify why he fired Walpin. "The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service," McCaskill said in a statement. "The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal. 'Loss of confidence' is not a sufficient reason. I'm hopeful the White House will provide a more substantive rationale, in writing, as quickly as possible."
Obama claimed that Walpin was removed after unanimous request from the AmeriCorps board of directors when it appeared that Walpin appeared to be "confused and disoriented" at a meeting. Quite a reason for immediate dismissal, no? They cited his age, 77, and hinted of senility. When he was hired, at 75, he seemed to be ok so what happened in the meantime? Let's see....
Walpin led a 2008 investigation into allegations of misused taxpayer funds distributed by AmeriCorps to the St. HOPE Academy of Sacramento, founded in 1989 by Obama supporter and former NBA player Kevin Johnson. Walpin said Johnson, now mayor of Sacramento, misused roughly $850,000 in AmeriCorps funds. His referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office did not result in the filing of criminal charges. But St. HOPE officials agreed, via a settlement, to repay half of its AmeriCorps grants. Mr. Walpin's investigators discovered that the money had been used instead to pad staff salaries, meddle politically in a school-board election, and have AmeriCorps members perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car. At the end of May, Mr. Walpin's office recommended that Mr. Johnson, an assistant and St. HOPE itself be "suspended" from receiving federal funds. The Corporation's official charged with suspensions agreed, and in September the suspension letters went out. Mr. Walpin's office also sent a civil and/or criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
Hmm...well, if that happened in 2008 why didn't Obama fire him until now and, after all, wasn't it the board of directors who put in the request that Halpin be fired? Good questions. Want answers?
Kevin Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. News of the suspension had become public, and President Obama began to discuss his federal stimulus spending. A city-hired attorney pronounced in March that Sacramento might be barred from receiving stimulus funds because of Mr. Johnson's suspension.
The news caused a public uproar. The U.S. Attorney's office, which since January has been headed by Lawrence Brown -- a career prosecutor who took over when the Bush-appointed Attorney left -- had already decided not to pursue criminal charges. Media and political pressure then mounted for the office to settle the issue and lift Mr. Johnson's suspension. Mr. Walpin agreed Mr. Johnson should pay back money but objected to lifting the suspension. He noted that Mr. Johnson has never officially responded to the Corporation's findings and that the entire point of suspension is to keep federal funds from individuals shown to have misused them.
Mr. Brown's office responded by cutting off contact with Mr. Walpin's office and began working directly with the Corporation, the board of which is now chaired by one of Mr. Obama's top campaign fundraisers, Alan Solomont. A few days later, Mr. Brown's office produced a settlement draft that significantly watered down any financial repayment and cleared Mr. Johnson. Mr. Walpin told us that in all his time working with U.S. Attorneys on cases he'd referred, he'd never been cut out in such fashion.
Mr. Walpin brought his concerns to the Corporation's board, but some board members were angry over a separate Walpin investigation into the wrongful disbursement of $80 million to the City University of New York. Concerned about the St. HOPE mess, Mr. Walpin wrote a 29-page report, signed by two other senior members of his office, and submitted it in April to Congress. Last Wednesday, he got a phone call from a White House lawyer telling him to resign within an hour or be fired.
So that's the way it works with the Obama administration. Mess with him or his friends or supporters and you're gone, even if it takes him completely reversing his position on a law he helped pass. It's Chicago politics, by the book. Why should anyone be surprised over that?
parts reprinted from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124511811033017539.html
Someone said we should be proud of this president? You feeling pride yet, Denise???