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Posted: 6/15/2009 3:44:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 3:44:44 AM EST by osprey21]
The White House's decision to fire AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin came amid politically-charged tensions inside the Corporation for National and Community Service, the organization that runs AmeriCorps. Top executives at the Corporation, Walpin explained in an hour-long interview Saturday, were unhappy with his investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps funds by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California and a prominent supporter of President Obama. Walpin's investigation also sparked conflict with the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento amid fears that the probe –– which could have resulted in Johnson being barred from ever winning another federal grant –– might stand in the way of the city receiving its part of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money. After weeks of standoff, Walpin, whose position as inspector general is supposed to be protected from influence by political appointees and the White House, was fired.

Walpin learned his fate Wednesday night. He was driving to an event in upstate New York when he received a call from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform. "He said, 'Mr. Walpin, the president wants me to tell you that he really appreciates your service, but it's time to move on,'" Walpin recalls. "Eisen said, 'You can either resign, or I'll tell you that we'll have to terminate you.'"

At that moment, Walpin says, he had finished not only a report on the Sacramento probe but also an investigation into extensive misuse of AmeriCorps money by the City University of New York, which is AmeriCorps' biggest program. Walpin says he told Eisen that, given those two investigations, neither of which was well-received by top Corporation management, the timing of his firing seemed "very interesting." According to Walpin, Eisen said it was "pure coincidence." When Walpin asked for some time to consider what to do, Eisen gave him one hour. "Then he called back in 45 minutes and asked for my response," Walpin recalls.

The method of Walpin's firing could be a violation of the 2008 Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the president to give Congress 30 days' notice, plus an explanation of cause, before firing an inspector general. Then-Sen. Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of that legislation. In the case of Walpin, Eisen's efforts to force Walpin to resign could be seen as an effort to push Walpin out of his job so that the White House would not have to go through the 30-day process or give a reason for its action. When Walpin refused to quit, the White House informed Congress and began the 30-day countdown.

Eisen's phone call came after months of increasing conflict inside the Corporation for National and Community Service. "We issued two reports that the management of the Corporation and the board of directors didn’t like, because they criticized what the board was doing," Walpin recalls. There is no question that Walpin discovered misuse of federal money in Kevin Johnson's program, known as St. HOPE, and at City University of New York. But as a result of those investigations, relations between Walpin and top executives became frosty, and he says they cut him out of Corporation business that should normally include the inspector general.

The heart of the matter is a dispute that began last year over Walpin's recommendation that Johnson and St. HOPE be barred from receiving and using federal grant money. The process is known as "suspension and debarment," meaning that Johnson would be suspended from receiving federal funds under any current arrangement and might ultimately be barred from receiving any such funds in the future. "The whole purpose of suspension and debarment," Walpin says, "is to say that somebody who was involved in the misuse of government funds in the past should not be trusted with federal funds in the future."

In the course of his investigation, Walpin found Johnson and St. HOPE had failed to use the federal money they received for the purposes specified in the grant and had also used federally-funded AmeriCorps staff for, among other things, "driving [Johnson] to personal appointments, washing his car, and running personal errands." Walpin came to the conclusion that Johnson and St. HOPE should be subject to suspension and debarment. But it was not Walpin's decision to make; there is another official at the Corporation whose job it is to make that call. In September 2008, after reviewing Walpin's evidence, the official decided to order a suspension, with the distinct possibility that it would lead to a permanent debarment.

That was during the Sacramento mayoral campaign, and the suspension quickly became a matter of controversy. Johnson's critics raised the possibility that, as mayor, the suspension would mean the city could not receive federal funds. Johnson dismissed the matter. "That's absurd," he told the Sacramento Bee. "As mayor, I'm going to go out there and shake down as many resources as I can for Sacramento."

But the issue did not go away after Johnson defeated the incumbent mayor and took office. It became far more pressing in late January, when Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus bill and Sacramento officials hoped that millions of federal dollars would soon arrive. Johnson's suspension seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to getting all that money. On March 21, the Sacramento Bee reported that, "The city of Sacramento likely is barred from getting federal money –– including tens of millions the city is expecting from the new stimulus package –– because Mayor Kevin Johnson is on a list of individuals forbidden from receiving federal funds, according to a leading attorney the city commissioned to look into the issue." The issue was explosive. What if there were all that federal money raining down and Sacramento couldn't get any because its mayor had been found to have misused federal money in the past?

As this was happening, the matter was also under consideration by the local U.S. attorney's office after Walpin referred the matter to the office for a criminal inquiry. Since January of this year, the office has been headed by an acting U.S. attorney, Lawrence Brown, a career prosecutor who took over after the departure of the previous, Bush-appointed U.S. attorney. The office decided not to pursue criminal charges against Johnson, but also entered into settlement talks with Johnson and St. HOPE. What resulted was, according to Walpin, highly unusual.

Settlement talks would normally cover the issue of whether Johnson would be required to give the misused federal funds back to the government. But amid the frenzy surrounding the possible denial of federal stimulus funds, Brown wanted to negotiate not only some sort of repayment scheme but also an end to Johnson's suspension. Walpin learned about that during a March telephone conversation with Brown. "He said he wanted to settle," Walpin recalls, "and he said that lifting the suspension had to be part of it because that was the 800-pound gorilla in the way of a settlement."

Walpin was adamantly opposed to a lifting of the suspension; after all, he had recommended that Johnson not only be suspended but be barred for receiving future federal funds. Walpin says that after that, he was cut out of the settlement talks; Brown worked directly with top officials of the Corporation, who seemed eager to work out a deal in a case involving a high-profile Obama supporter and lots of stimulus money. (The Corporation is now headed by Alan Solomont, a philanthropist and Democratic fundraiser appointed by President Obama.)

Together, Brown and the top Corporation brass negotiated a deal. Johnson and St. HOPE would pay back about half of the $850,000 in AmeriCorps grant money it had received, and the suspension against Johnson would be lifted.

Walpin was very unhappy. First of all, he said it was a terrible deal for the U.S. government, because St. HOPE was essentially insolvent and would never pay the money back. Second, he felt lifting Johnson's suspension would dilute the effectiveness of future investigations; why should grant recipients worry about their misconduct if any sanctions can be so easily lifted? In the end, Johnson was not suspended, not debarred, and was probably not going to pay the vast majority of the money back.

Walpin told the Corporation's board of directors of his opinion. He told other officials. And he sent a report to Congress. "I was bringing Congress in to try to get its assistance in putting a spotlight on this," he says.

Walpin's actions undoubtedly angered top officials at the Corporation, and most likely at the White House as well. It would not be long before he was summarily dismissed. But he has no regrets. Whatever happens, he wrote recently, he is proud that he "refused to go along with the U.S. attorney's office and the Corporation in bowing to the media and political pressure that resulted in this hasty settlement, contrary to the interests of the United States government."


You can bet the liberal goon squads are out in force looking for dirt on Walpin to get him to back off. Hopefully he has enough money to buy personal security.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:11:33 AM EST
More hopenchange, transparency, blah blah blah. All we get is Chicago politics.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:47:53 AM EST
This is a big deal. I hope it gets a lot of media attention. This is exactly the Chicago politics that we need to expose.

It's all a part of the braoder agenda to tie free public education with the volunteer corps dedicated to the dems and Obama.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:55:51 AM EST
Originally Posted By enemy:
I hope it gets a lot of media attention.


Well, I just happen to have the MSM daily schedule right here:

8 Suck Obama's Dick
9 Suck Obama's Dick
10 Suck Obama's Dick
11 Suck Obama's Dick
12 Lunch
1 Suck Obama's Dick
2 Suck Obama's Dick
3 Suck Obama's Dick
4 Suck Obama's Dick
5 Suck Obama's Dick
6 Suck Obama's Dick

Nope, sorry, I don't see any "Investigate Corrupt Thugocracy" in there.


Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:57:29 AM EST
Chicago style corruption comes to D.C.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:00:57 AM EST
Originally Posted By RarestRX:
Originally Posted By enemy:
I hope it gets a lot of media attention.


Well, I just happen to have the MSM daily schedule right here:

8 Suck Obama's Dick
9 Suck Obama's Dick
10 Suck Obama's Dick
11 Suck Obama's Dick
12 Lunch
1 Suck Obama's Dick
2 Suck Obama's Dick
3 Suck Obama's Dick
4 Suck Obama's Dick
5 Suck Obama's Dick
6 Suck Obama's Dick

Nope, sorry, I don't see any "Investigate Corrupt Thugocracy" in there.




so true...

-3D
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:01:36 AM EST
So the man does his job, finds corruption, but since it does not fit the agenda of the administration he gets fired.
This all needs to be brought out into the light.

Oh and FUCK OBAMA!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:07:06 AM EST
Gee, what a surprise ! Another group of government agencies that are corrupt. Who would have thought it possible?

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:09:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By RarestRX:
Originally Posted By enemy:
I hope it gets a lot of media attention.


Well, I just happen to have the MSM daily schedule right here:

8 Suck Obama's Dick
9 Suck Obama's Dick
10 Suck Obama's Dick
11 Suck Obama's Dick
12 Lunch
1 Suck Obama's Dick
2 Suck Obama's Dick
3 Suck Obama's Dick
4 Suck Obama's Dick
5 Suck Obama's Dick
6 Suck Obama's Dick

Nope, sorry, I don't see any "Investigate Corrupt Thugocracy" in there.




I think they also had dick for lunch.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:12:52 AM EST
Source?

I believe it, but in order to forward it to Hannity, Beck, and the like we need a source.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:12:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By JT_26:
Originally Posted By RarestRX:
Originally Posted By enemy:
I hope it gets a lot of media attention.


Well, I just happen to have the MSM daily schedule right here:

8 Suck Obama's Dick
9 Suck Obama's Dick
10 Suck Obama's Dick
11 Suck Obama's Dick
12 Lunch
1 Suck Obama's Dick
2 Suck Obama's Dick
3 Suck Obama's Dick
4 Suck Obama's Dick
5 Suck Obama's Dick
6 Suck Obama's Dick

Nope, sorry, I don't see any "Investigate Corrupt Thugocracy" in there.




I think they also had dick for lunch.

No, they probably had some tossed salad. Good for the digestion.

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:14:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By Afterwork_Ninja:
Source?

I believe it, but in order to forward it to Hannity, Beck, and the like we need a source.


http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Gerald-Walpin-speaks-the-inside-story-of-the-AmeriCorps-firing-48030697.html
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:50:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By RarestRX:
Originally Posted By enemy:
I hope it gets a lot of media attention.


Well, I just happen to have the MSM daily schedule right here:

8 Suck Obama's Dick
9 Suck Obama's Dick
10 Suck Obama's Dick
11 Suck Obama's Dick
12 Lunch
1 Suck Obama's Dick
2 Suck Obama's Dick
3 Suck Obama's Dick
4 Suck Obama's Dick
5 Suck Obama's Dick
6 Suck Obama's Dick

Nope, sorry, I don't see any "Investigate Corrupt Thugocracy" in there.





Here on the east coast, at 6:30 PM it's "Suck obama's ass."

They like to mix it up a little.
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