Defending Walpin

Things are looking worse for Obama in the matter of Gerald Walpin, the Inspector General fired by Barack Obama after Walpin began digging into AmeriCorps. According to Byron York, who has done yeoman’s duty on this story, AmeriCorps feared bad press by Walpin’s investigation. The program, being one of both Barack and Michelle Obama’s favorite programs, couldn’t afford to be tainted.

Walpin was fired.

Now a large group has come together to defend Walpin’s integrity after the Obama administration started smearing him for his refusal to go quietly.

Here is a letter (PDF) signed by, among others, 4 former U.S. Attorneys, 3 former Federal Judges, 1 former Attorney General, 1 former Counsel to the President (Clinton), 1 former Special White House Counsel for Ethics (the same position as Eisen), 1 former NYC Police Commissioner, 1 former law school dean, and 5 currrent and former Presidents of the Bar Association of lawyers in the Second Circuit and the President-elect.

Some notable signers include: former U.S. Attorneys Otto Obermaier, John Martin, Zachary Carter, and Andrew Maloney; Former Federal Judges Michael Mukasey, Abraham Sofaer, and John Martin; Former Attorney-General Michael Mukasey; Former Counsel To President Bernard Nussbaum; Former Special Counsel to President for Ethics Richard Painter; Former NYC Police Commissioner Robert McGuire; and Former Law School Dean Monroe Freedman; Former and current Presidents of Federal Bar Council and President-elect Robert Giuffra, Stephen Edwards, Bernard Nussbaum, George Yankwitt, Mark Zauderer, and Robert Anello.

Now, here is another key troubling aspect to this whole story. Unbeknownst to anyone save the culprit until after the stimulus bill was signed, someone put in a provision to the stimulus bill effectively neutering all but the most persistent Inspectors General. The provision, which created the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, or RAT Board,

would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.

The RAT Board could insist that an Inspector General cease an investigation. As Byron York noted at the time he wrote about this provision, “a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.”

Walpin might have been too persistent for Barack Obama.

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