Wash. Times Still Pushing Bogus Story That Obama Fired IG For Uncovering Fraud

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

The Washington Times published an op-ed by former Corporation for National and Community Service Inspector General Gerald Walpin, in which Walpin claimed that President Obama fired him "for doing my job of uncovering fraud, waste and abuse." In fact, at the time he was fired, Walpin was accused of acting improperly and not fulfilling his job requirements.

Walpin was writing an op-ed about a bill to grant Inspectors General the power to issue subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify. (IGs currently have the power to issue subpoenas for documents, but not for live testimony.) Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY) has introduced a version of the proposal in the current Congress, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has co-sponsored the bill.

Whatever you think of that legislation, the right-wing media clearly has an agenda in pushing Walpin's dubious claims about why he was fired.

As we've noted, The Washington Times and Fox News have repeatedly alleged that there is something nefarious about Walpin's firing, and Issa -- the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee -- has strongly suggested that he will investigate Walpin's firing.

But here are a few facts that put Walpin's firing in a different light and that the right-wing media never tell you: In an April 29, 2009, letter Lawrence Brown, who was then the acting US. attorney for the Eastern District of California detailed an investigation into Walpin's handling of allegations that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the organization he formerly headed, St. HOPE Academy, allegedly misused AmeriCorps grants. The letter alleged that Walpin and his staff failed to include or disclose relevant information regarding the case to Brown's office; that Walpin repeatedly discussed the case in the press after having been advised that "under no circumstance was he to communicate with the media about a matter under investigation"; and that Walpin's "actions were hindering our investigation and handling of this matter."

The letter also indicates that the U.S. attorney's office began looking into Walpin's actions in the St. HOPE Academy case during the tenure of U.S. attorney McGregor Scott, a Bush appointee.

The U.S. attorney's office subsequently cleared Walpin of criminal wrongdoing. Additionally, a federal trial court dismissed Walpin's lawsuit for wrongful termination. (The dismissal occurred within a week of a Washington Times editorial touting the lawsuit.) According to The Sacramento Bee (accessed via Nexis), Walpin appealed that decision on July 2.

Furthermore, a June 16, 2009, letter from the White House explaining Walpin's termination to members of Congress cited additional reasons for Walpin's firing:

We further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation's headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation's Board; that he had exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers; and he had engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct. Mr. Walpin had become unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness and, for the reasons stated above, losing the confidence of the Board and the agency. It was for these reasons that Mr. Walpin was removed.

Documents released by the White House also reportedly show that people in Walpin's office sent e-mails containing racial and sexual jokes.

Posted In
Government, Cabinet & Agencies, Ethics, Nominations & Appointments
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
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