Obama’s politically motivated firing of IG Gerald Walpin

Spin this one any way you like but the bottom line is that Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired by President Obama because he was investigating wrongdoing by several Obama supporters and the administration sought to put an end to to it.

The story started a few days ago, here is a good summation:

More on what Walpin was investigating from Village Voice:

President Obama may have a big political controversy in the firing of an inspector general overseeing the federal government’s sprawling community service program — and there’s a New York angle.

Federal watchdog Gerald Walpin [pictured] was fired last week, the White House said, for supposedly being “confused” and “disoriented.” Walpin’s job was to keep an eye on the expenditures and operations of the huge Americorps program, along with all of the organizations that it funds.

Walpin had just issued damning audits of two high-profile programs, including the widely lauded Teaching Fellows program, run by the City University Research Foundation. (Here’s a story that lays it out pretty clearly.)

That program places mid-career professionals as teachers in the New York City public schools, allowing them to teach while earning a modest salary and working toward their degree in education. The program has received tons of favorable coverage in the New York Times and elsewhere, but has been criticized by teachers unions.

Walpin’s audit [pdf] found that the program could not prove it was doing criminal background checks, had taken more money than it was due, didn’t follow certain Americorps rules, failed to regularly file required forms, and did some sloppy record-keeping.

In all, Walpin questioned awards to the program of $16.1 million and $773,000, mostly on administrative grounds. He also says the government should stop the program and recover $75 million spent over the past six years.

CUNY pledged to make changes, according to the audit, but didn’t go all the way. It also refused to return any money, and defended its policy of accepting background checks supplied by the city Department of Education. The Corporation for National and Community Service — the official name of the agency Walpin oversees — refused to ask for any of the money back from CUNY.

In a letter [pdf] to CUNY president Matthew Goldstein, Walpin in essence says that the money CUNY gets from Americorps is redundant. Basically, CUNY doesn’t need it:

“The program doesn’t work because it adds no service to the community which is not already provided by the Fellows program,” Walpin writes. “Therefore, taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth. The [government] could accomplish its goals more effectively if the funds for these grants were used… in communities where the need exists.”

Walpin cites a newspaper report which he says proves that educational awards are being used to deprive college graduates of teaching jobs because the money is going instead to taxpayer-financed teaching fellows.

Goldstein, for his part, accused Walpin of acting outside the scope of his authority.

What started as a bureaucratic flap got spicey last week when Walpin, a holdover from the Bush administration, was placed on 30 days suspension without pay by the White House.

Imagine, for a moment, if President Bush had fired an Inspector General currently investigating some Bush cronies for corruption and then cited dementia as the reason for the firing. The liberals would still be talking about the story today as the ultimate example of government corruption.

Here is the latest as of yesterday on this story:

Nothing adds up in terms of the reason why Walpin was fired, especially considering the White House was welcoming his opinions as a conservative who, for some reason, supporter the nomination of Justice Sotomayor.

Above that, however, one also has to question why the mainstream media is ignoring this story and not even reporting it.

There is definitely something corrupt at the bottom of this and hopefully some reporter will keep digging.