PLEASE READ THIS UPDTE ON GERALD WALPIN: THE OUTRAGE CONTINUES
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Americorps IG Gerald Walpin had a job to do – root out corruption in the Americorps federal money-spending program. His one big mistake seems to be that he tried to do his job, and when his search for fraudsters led to a close friend of Obama’s (former NBA star and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson), he soon found himself jobless. The Obama administration wants it made clear that that kind of professionalism, efficiency, and thoroughness in looking after the taxpayers’ money simply won’t be tolerated. Wonder if he’ll appeal this?
By Robert Stacy McCain on 6.19.10 @ 6:15PM
When AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired a year ago, it was the first shot in what eventually became the Obama administration’s “War on Watchdogs.” After Walpin sued to win back his job, the case was repeatedly delayed until a federal judge dismissed it Thursday:
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts threw out a lawsuit Walpin brought in an attempt to be restored to his position at the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs Americorps and other programs. Walpin has claimed that his firing was political retaliation for his opposition to wasteful spending by the agency and for his aggressive investigation of a friend of Obama, Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson. The White House stridently denied any such motivation.
Roberts said a federal law passed in 2008 with Obama’s support, the Inspector General Reform Act, did not allow Walpin the right to sue over what he contends was an improper removal. The judge also said that the requirement in the statute that Obama give Congress his reasons for any such firing was too vague for the courts to assess whether Obama’s claim that he’d lost confidence in Walpin was sufficient.
Walpin defeat means president can fire IGs at will
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
06/19/10 8:30 AM EDT
A federal judge in Washington has dismissed the wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who was fired last year by President Obama.Â And not just dismissed; if the decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts stands, in the future the White House will be able fire other inspectors general as it fired Walpin without fear of legal consequences.
The law requires the president to give Congress 30 daysâ€™ notice, plus an explanation, before firing an inspector general, but Walpin was summarily dismissed by the White House without notice to Congress or explanation on June 10, 2009.Â At the time, Walpin was aggressively investigating misuse of AmeriCorps money by Sacramento, California mayor Kevin Johnson, a friend and political ally of President Obama. Walpin sued to get his old job back, arguing that he was unlawfully dismissed.
Judge Roberts rejected Walpinâ€™s claim by deciding that Walpin was not summarily fired, after all.Â Even though Walpin was placed on immediate administrative leave on June 10, his authority removed, denied access to his office, email, etc., Roberts says Walpin was not technically fired until later, after the White House had notified Congress.Â Therefore, the president did not violate the law in ousting Walpin.
â€œWalpin does not show that there is no doubt that his placement on administrative leave with pay was a transfer or removal from office,â€ the judge writes.Â â€œWalpin has not shown that he was removed or transferred that day such that the defendants had a clear, unmistakable duty to reinstate him as inspector general based upon the presidentâ€™s purported failure to comply with [the inspector general law].â€
If it stands, Robertsâ€™ decision means the president can remove future inspectors general immediately, without reason or notice to Congress, simply by placing an inspector general on immediate administrative leave.Â That way, the troublesome inspector general would be instantly relieved of his duties but not technically fired.Â Later, with notice to Congress, the White House could formally fire the inspector general. The inspector general would be out of his office immediately, stripped of his authority, and the president could claim that he had not actually been fired, and thus the law had not been violated.
Walpin is not saying whether he will appeal the decision.Â â€œWe are disappointed in the decision because we believe it is erroneous,â€ he says, â€œand we are reviewing it to consider our next step.â€
Later, Walpin added one more comment.Â â€œThe District Courtâ€™s dismissal in no way questions the basic thrust of my case: that I was removed because I was doing my job too well in investigating and reporting on wrongdoing with taxpayersâ€™ money.â€
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/walpin-defeat-means-president-can-fire-igs-at-will-96714994.html#ixzz0rTFt3TPq
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