From the beginning, President Obama decision to fire AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin reeked of political favoritism. Walpin claims that the administration was 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 major supporter of President Obama. Walpin’s investigation also sparked conflict U.S. attorney in Sacramento who feared 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 Porkulus money. Because he was investigating the president’s friends, Walpin, whose position as an inspector general is supposed to be protected from political appointees and the White House, was fired.
Ironically it was the President who, along with Senator Sen. Claire McCaskill, sponsored 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.
Today President Obama’s co sponsor and political ally Claire McCaskill weighed in on the Walpin firing (from Jack Tapper):
…..Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the president did not abide by the same law that he co-sponsored – and she wrote – about firing Inspectors General.
McCaskill, a key Obama ally, said that the president’s stated reason for the termination, “Loss of confidence’ is not a sufficient reason.” She added that she was “hopeful the White House will provide a more substantive rationale, in writing, as quickly as possible.”
I guess the President felt, ” wanting to help my political buddys” wasn’t an acceptible excuse either.