Inspector General Firings: Cronyism Alive & Well in Obama White House

UPDATE (6/18): 2 more federal inspector generals fired by Obama – Chicago Trib Article

    He was appointed with fanfare as the public watchdog over the government’s multi-billion dollar bailout of the nation’s financial system. But now Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.

    The disagreement stems from a claim by the Treasury Department that Barofsky is not entirely independent of the agency he is assigned to examine ¿ a claim that has prompted a stern letter from a Republican senator warning that agency officials are encroaching on the integrity of an office created to protect taxpayers.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent the letter Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner demanding information about a “dispute over certain Treasury documents” that he said were being “withheld” from Barofsky’s office on a “specious claim of attorney-client privilege.” …
    International Trade Commission told its acting inspector general, who is not subject to White House authority, that her contract would not be renewed.

    Grassley had become concerned about her independence because of a report earlier in the year that an agency employee forcibly took documents from the acting inspector general.

    “It is difficult to understand why the ITC would not have taken action to ensure that the ITC inspector general had the information necessary to do the job,” Grassley wrote on Tuesday.

    Less than three hours after the letter was e-mailed to the agency, the acting IG, Judith Gwynne, was told that her contract, which expires in early July, would not be renewed.

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Yet another instance we can aptly state “So much for ‘the change we can believe in'”

Yes President Obama has done it again – reversed course on yet another “tenet” of his. I hesitate to say our President has any tenets by which he holds fast to… It makes you wonder if he didn’t spend a lot of time with Senator Kerry? But I digress.

This 180 is on a matter few will pay attention to, unfortunately. But President Obama has fired “federal Inspector General Gerald Walpin for the crime of trying to protect taxpayer dollars,” so it seems. And there is no hiding from the law that Pres. Obama broke by firing Mr. Walpin, because he co-sponsored the law: the “Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an inspector general.”

So why was Mr. Walpin fired? (WSJ Article)

    NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. St. HOPE had received an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant, which was supposed to go for three purposes: tutoring for Sacramento-area students; the redevelopment of several buildings; and theater and art programs.

    Mr. Walpin’s investigators discovered that the money had been used instead to pad staff salaries, meddle politically in a school-board election, and have AmeriCorps members perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car.

    At the end of May, Mr. Walpin’s office recommended that Mr. Johnson, an assistant and St. HOPE itself be “suspended” from receiving federal funds. The Corporation’s official charged with suspensions agreed, and in September the suspension letters went out. Mr. Walpin’s office also sent a civil and/or criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

    So far, so normal. But that all changed last fall, when Mr. Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. News of the suspension had become public, and President Obama began to discuss his federal stimulus spending. A city-hired attorney pronounced in March that Sacramento might be barred from receiving stimulus funds because of Mr. Johnson’s suspension.

    The news caused a public uproar. The U.S. Attorney’s office, which since January has been headed by Lawrence Brown — a career prosecutor who took over when the Bush-appointed Attorney left — had already decided not to pursue criminal charges. Media and political pressure then mounted for the office to settle the issue and lift Mr. Johnson’s suspension. Mr. Walpin agreed Mr. Johnson should pay back money but objected to lifting the suspension. He noted that Mr. Johnson has never officially responded to the Corporation’s findings and that the entire point of suspension is to keep federal funds from individuals shown to have misused them.

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