This nasty administration spent much time going after Gerald Walpin personally, who until a few months ago was the inspector general for AmeriCorps. Walpin claims he was fired because he made the mistake of Investigation a friend of Obama (FOB), Kevin Johnson former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California, for the misuse of AmeriCorps funds.
Because he was investigating the President’s friend, Walpin, whose position as an inspector general is supposed to be protected from political appointees and the White House, was fired. Pressed for a reasoning for the dismissal the Administration trashed Walpin hinting that he was in the early stages of dementia. They said the IG seemed “disoriented” at one meeting. But Walpin’s version of the story was confirmed by a AmeriCorps board member who confirmed that he was fired to protect the Democrats from a political scandal.
Two significant developments have occurred, first the FBI (which reports to Eric Holder) has completed its investigation of Johnson and closed the investigation for lack of evidence:
The FBI probe into whether e-mails were deleted during a separate federal investigation of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s St. HOPE Academy has been closed without charges being filed.
Federal officials said Tuesday there was not enough evidence to support allegations that the e-mails were intentionally deleted while Johnson’s nonprofit organization was being probed by federal Inspector General Gerald Walpin.
The decision appears to put to rest a controversy that has dogged Johnson since Walpin’s investigation into St. HOPE’s use of federal grant money first became public in April 2008.
“We’re pleased that the FBI has determined what we knew all along – that there was no intentional wrongdoing by the mayor or anyone at St. HOPE,” said mayoral spokesman Steve Maviglio. “It’s time for this book to be closed and for everyone to move on.”
On the other hand Walpin who was investigated by the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General (a government agency) was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident (he was accused of overstepping his authority), he says he wants his job back:
“It certainly is a vindication that I and my office – and it was mainly my office, the career staff – acted properly in connection with the investigation into St. HOPE,” Walpin said.
“It takes away any basis belatedly set forth by the White House as a reason for my termination,” he added.
St. HOPE, based in Oak Park, runs an array of nonprofit endeavors, including schools, a development company, and Hood Corps, the urban program at the center of Walpin’s investigation. Johnson founded St. HOPE and ran its programs until he stepped down last year to focus on his mayoral bid.
In the course of the investigation, Walpin’s office accused St. HOPE of numerous violations, including using Hood Corps members, financed by federal grant money, to run personal errands for Johnson and diverting grant money into salaries for St. HOPE school employees.
Johnson won election last November despite the probe, and Walpin’s aggressive investigation and attendant media attention eventually resulted in a rare rebuke of him by Lawrence G. Brown, who at the time was the acting U.S. attorney for Sacramento.
Brown’s office decided after reviewing Walpin’s evidence that there was no criminal wrongdoing on the part of Johnson or St. HOPE, and agreed to a civil settlement in which they would repay $400,000 in federal AmeriCorps funds.
Walpin publicly lambasted the settlement, and Brown sent a sharply worded complaint last April to a federal panel alleging that Walpin had “overstepped his authority,” withheld “potentially significant information at the expense of determining the truth” and engaged in a campaign in the media that damaged the image of the AmeriCorps program.
“He sought to act as the investigator, advocate, judge, jury and town crier,” Brown wrote in the April 29 letter.
As a result, the federal Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency opened a review of Walpin’s actions. In early June, Obama said in a letter to Congress that he was firing Walpin because he had lost confidence in him.
The White House later said that his firing was prompted by his “confused, disoriented” state during a May meeting of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Walpin’s job as inspector general was to investigate potential problems in federally funded programs, and he said he believed the decision to settle the St. HOPE case rather than pursue criminal charges stemmed from “media pressures and political considerations,” including the fact that Johnson is seen as an Obama ally….
“We have previously provided Congress with a detailed explanation of the multiple bases for this removal, and we continue to believe that it was fully merited,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams said.
Walpin disagrees and on Monday filed a letter in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that he says exonerates him of Brown’s claims of improper action.
The letter from the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency is dated Oct. 19 and indicates the probe against him has been closed.
“After carefully considering the allegations described in the complaint together with your response, the IC determined that the response sufficiently and satisfactorily addressed the matter and that further inquiry or an investigation regarding the matter was not warranted,” committee Chairman Kevin L. Perkins wrote.
The lesson to be learned is you don’t mess with the POTUS, and in the end his Friends WILL be protected.