Why the firing of Inspector General Walpin matters

If you watch Fox News, you’ve seen at least a headline about Inspector General Gerald Walpin and the unusual end to his tenure in U.S. government.

Glenn Beck had an important discussion on the subject a few days ago, but oddly enough,General Walpin’s unethical firing is getting less-than-highlighted coverage in other news outlets– so much so, that it’s easy to assume that the majority of Americans either haven’t heard enough about it to care, or simply haven’t noticed that it happened at all.

So why am I writing about this? If it’s only a big deal to Fox News, should it matter to us?

I think it should, and not just because I’m a conservative. This is an issue of honesty and integrity, something all Christians should care about, no matter what our political affiliation may be.

As president, you’d think that Barack Obama can fire whomever he likes for whatever reason, but here’s where the story gets juicy: “. . . last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an inspector general. A co-sponsor of that bill was none other than Senator Obama.” according to Wall Street Journal.

So what, you say. Obama is still president, maybe Walpin was really screwing up and we couldn’t afford to wait for bureaucracy. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Unfortunately, General Walpin was looking into the shady dealings of one of President Obama’s friends and supporters, Kevin Johnson, so he did not get the courtesy of a legal, open and honest end to his career. He was abruptly called on a Wednesday evening and given one hour to resign or be fired.

He did not resign, and was fired. Now Walpin is in a political maelstrom he did not ask for as he is essentially being punished for doing his job.

As Christians, we should care deeply about the political persecution of an upright man and the appearance of dishonest political favors. We should be alert and on our guard, ready to defend–if only with our words–those who are unfairly treated.

In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, Walpin was asked this question: “Do you think you’re going to win?” to which he replied, “No.” Somewhat surprised, Beck responded, “So why are you doing it?”

Walpin’s response should give all of us pause: “Because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”

Be First to Comment

  1. lindazakaryan said:

    Dani, Very interesting! Thanks for bringing it to my attention…more tainted politics from CA! Linza

    June 24, 2009
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  2. altfreq11 said:

    Actually, according to the Wash. Post, a letter from the administration delivered to lawmakers… …recounted the fallout from Walpin’s 2008 investigation of Sacramento-based St. HOPE Academy, founded by Sacramento Mayor and former NBA basketball star Kevin Johnson. Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown, also appointed by Bush, settled the matter with Johnson and later filed a complaint with an inspector general ethics panel, alleging Walpin withheld key information and interfered in his investigation by speaking with the news media. The panel is expected to rule later this week on the matter. “We further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation’s headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation’s board,” the letter states. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2009/06/white_house_explains_firing_of.html

    June 25, 2009
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  3. altfreq11 said:

    And according to an ABC NEWS Blog: Eisen writes that the President decided to take the step after learning that the Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence Brown, “a career prosecutor who was appointed to his post during the Bush Administrator, had filed a complaint about Mr. Walpin’s conduct with the oversight body for Inspectors General, including for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence.” The Obama administration “further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation’s headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation’s Board; that he had exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers; and that he had engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct. Mr. Walpin had become unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness and, for the reasons stated above, losing the confidence of the Board.”

    June 25, 2009
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  4. said:

    Hi alfreq11 – thanks for your response and for doing your homework on this topic. I guess it all comes down to perspective. One of the reasons I doubt the truthfulness of the Administration’s stance is that this all came out AFTER Walpin was fired. It feels decidely like an attempt to cover up tracks (not that most of the American public was watching, anyway). If the accusations toward Walpin were true, why not go with policy and give him 30 days notice and a full statement of “why” to Congress? Why rush it? In the letter sent to Walpin from the White House, it stated that Obama “no longer trusts” Walpin. As Walpin himself pointed out, that is a conclusion, not a cause. The White House still has not given a good reason why, and it’s attempts at covering it up smack of dishonest dealings. Of course, I can’t say for sure what’s in Walpin’s or President Obama’s hearts. But as Christians, we are called to think critically about such things.. whether you agree or not with my conclusion, I think it’s an important discussion to have.

    June 26, 2009
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  5. altfreq11 said:

    Wrong again, Dani – you should try doing some research yourself. Walpin’s incompetence and corruption came out before he was fired. According to Salon.com: ————— And it is true as well that Lawrence Brown, the United States attorney in Northern California who received Walpin’s findings, decided not to bring any criminal charges against Johnson and instead reached a settlement with him and St. Hope. That settlement, filed last April, is a public document that reflects no great honor on Johnson, to put it mildly. But it also voided any possibility of a “coverup” by Obama or anyone in his administration. The case against Johnson had concluded months before the president acted to dismiss Walpin — and in fact only drew attention to the case by doing so, as he must have known would happen. Just as salient as the accusations against Johnson, however, are those brought by Brown against Walpin. A Republican named as the acting U.S. attorney by Bush, Brown filed a sharply worded complaint against Walpin with the oversight office for the federal inspectors general that charged him with ethical violations in an overzealous assault on Johnson and St. Hope. The U.S. attorney said that Walpin had “overstepped his authority by electing to provide my office with selective information and withholding other potentially significant information at the expense of determining the truth” — in other words, Walpin had failed to provide substantive exculpatory facts to the U.S. attorney, while trying to push the government into opening a criminal probe of Johnson. During the election season in Sacramento, Brown noted that Walpin had sought publicity for his findings against Johnson in the local media before discussing them with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “hindering our investigation and handling of this matter.” http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/06/19/walpin/print.html ————– And here’s a link to Brown’s letter, dated late April 29, over 1 1/2 months before Walpin was fired: http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/Brown_letter_to_Kenneth_Kaiser.pdf ————– So I guess the real question is, Dani, why are you bearing false witness against people?

    June 30, 2009
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  6. said:

    Altfreq11 – One of the tenets of a respectful Christian discussion is just that – respect. While I may not agree with you, I am willing to give you the benefit of an open and respectful discussion, sans accusations, so that perhaps together we can seek out truth. I only ask that you grant me the same courtesy – remember that there are many people watching, and how we interact is a testament of how Christians can love each other past political differences. In all honesty, the point of my blog (which I admit, is strictly my opinion and not to be taken as gospel) was to ask us to pay attention to seemingly small stories in the news and look for deeper meaning. Hence my title of “why this matters”. So my goal has been realized – you’ve certainly not been apathetic in this matter, which I greatly admire. However, I’m sorry to say that I still don’t agree with you. I think it’s interesting that your main evidence comes from Salon.com, which is a liberal-leaning news and opinion site. If that’s where you choose to get your news, that’s fine, but remember that they will do everything possible to protect this administration and the Democratic party. I understand that you could say the same thing to me about Fox News, but I guess it’s rather subjective as to which is more biased. (Fox does have liberal commentators, I don’t believe Salon ever hears from the other side.) Also, regardless of whether Walpin was making enemies, there is still the matter of Kevin Johnson’s unsavory dealings, which none of your research resolved. The fact of the matter is that we may never know what really happened and why. There are a great many loopholes in government, and we are dependant on a flawed media system for our information. My point with this article was to ask us to wake up and start investigating, which you did admirably. I think it’s important to look at these kinds of issues and I thank you for bringing additional resources to my attention. Since you’re interested in this topic, here are a few more items I found interesting: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2009/06/19/ldt.inspector.general.cnn?iref=videosearch http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Gerald-Walpin-speaks-the-inside-story-of-the-AmeriCorps-firing-48030697.html

    June 30, 2009
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  7. altfreq11 said:

    Let’s take this point by point, shall we, Dani? – How, specifically, did I disrespect you, and who wrote these “tenets of a respectful Christian discussion” that you spoke of? – You said: “In all honesty, the point of my blog (which I admit, is strictly my opinion and not to be taken as gospel)…” So are you admitting that your allegations are baseless? – Do you have any proof that Salon.com is “a liberal-leaning news and opinion site” which “will do everything possible to protect this administration and the Democratic party” as you allege? – You said: “there is still the matter of Kevin Johnson’s unsavory dealings, which none of your research resolved. The fact of the matter is that we may never know what really happened and why.” Here again, for your edification, are the links which explain everything. If you choose to remain ignorant, I can’t help you. http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/06/19/walpin/print.html And again, here’s a link to Brown’s letter, dated late April 29, over 1 1/2 months before Walpin was fired: http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/Brown_letter_to_Kenneth_Kaiser.pdf – You said: “There are a great many loopholes in government, and we are dependant on a flawed media system for our information.” What loopholes? Do you have any examples? Do you have any proof that the media is flawed, as you allege? – You said: “My point with this article was to ask us to wake up and start investigating, which you did admirably.” The question remains, Dani, why didn’t you start investigating instead of bearing false witness?

    July 1, 2009
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  8. DeltaFour said:

    Hey All… AltFreq11 you close with a fascinating series of questions… “You said: ‘There are a great many loopholes in government, and we are dependant on a flawed media system for our information.’ What loopholes? Do you have any examples? Do you have any proof that the media is flawed, as you allege?” Here the answer is really simple… Are the people in the media, the current administration, or any prior administration part of the Human race? If “yes,” then we have more than ample evidence that any, and all categories of their human endeavors are flawed! So, whether one is flawed to a liberal perspective , or flawed toward the conservative side, part of our Christian responsibility is to recognize our own failings before we start throwing mud. If it’s not appropriate to accuse the administration of mis-handling the case against Walpin (because there are two sides to the story), then is it appropriate to accuse Blogger Dani of “false accusations”? Obviously, this coin has two sides also. If you think it’s appropriate, then go for it. But, as a reader here, I’m having doubts about the integrity of the line of questions that you have pitched back to Blogger Dani’s responses. As Christians we should recognize man’s fallen state and the risks associated with temptations that afflict all individuals, in all of the world’s powerful places. Blogger Dani’s admonishment seems to carry no more weight than straight-forward encouragement along these lines – Chirstians should be informed, cognizant, and “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    July 1, 2009
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  9. said:

    Well, I guess I’m glad I brought this little issue up, as there are less people who suffer from apathy in this country than I thought. For that I thank you, altfreq11, (and DeltaFour and lindazakaryan) for being willing to debate this topic and attempt to do some research. As I said before, such pursuit of the truth is admirable and exactly what I was hoping my blog would accomplish. Obviously, in regard to a “respectful Christian discussion” – no one has written those tenets, per se, other than a God who asks that we treat one another as we should like to be treated. Perhaps I’ve been reading you wrong, altfreq11, (tone is difficult to decipher in written form, after all,) but I didn’t feel that your comments typified how we should address one another, even in differences of opinion. So that’s where that note came from. Of course the beauty of Internet anonymity is that we can say things we would not say if someone knew who we really were… unfortunately, I don’t have the shield of a screen-name, so I guess it’s my own fault for sticking my neck out. As far as that goes, I feel that this little exchange we’ve had also displays a frightening trend in debate in this country, even (sadly) among fellow believers. One of the cultural shifts that has pushed me to become a writer is that we are generally apathetic and uninformed in the US. Unfortunately, if differences of opinion are met with accusations and condescension, how can we ever move forward? I think it’s important that we consider how we discuss such things. I read your evidence (one of which was an opinion piece, much like the one our comments lie beneath, so it can be disputed, I suppose). I actually read much evidence before posting my blog, from both sides of the argument. Obviously, when I said that my blog was my opinion, I was just admitting that I am not omniscient (rather obvious, I know, but I figured I should cover my bases). I don’t believe that I was wrong, but of course I am glad to hear from other sides, while you may or may not be able to dissuade me. Thanks again for the dialogue. Here, (since I can’t help myself, I am a blogger after all,) are some more interesting tidbits on this case for you or anyone else who’d like more info: http://cbs13.com/local/fbi.investigation.kevin.2.1049347.html http://spectator.org/blog/2009/06/18/americorps-scandal-wont-go-awa http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/17/walpin-gates-egregious-stuff/ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124529359030226317.html http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Fired-AmeriCorps-IG-responds-White-House-charges-are-false-48257187.html And, as of today, if you think Walpin will be the only IG fired, think again: http://michellemalkin.com/2009/07/01/who-railroaded-the-amtrak-inspector-general/

    July 2, 2009
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  10. altfreq11 said:

    Dani said: “”As I said before, such pursuit of the truth is admirable and exactly what I was hoping my blog would accomplish.” So why didn’t you do research, and why did you post falsehoods on the internet? Dani said: “Obviously, in regard to a “respectful Christian discussion” – no one has written those tenets…” So why did you contrive that term? Dani said: “but I didn’t feel that your comments typified how we should address one another, even in differences of opinion.” Why? Dani said: “Of course the beauty of Internet anonymity is that we can say things we would not say if someone knew who we really were…unfortunately, I don’t have the shield of a screen-name, so I guessit’s my own fault for sticking my neck out.” No, it’s because you haven’t been debating honestly. You got called out on your omissions, and now you’re crying sour grapes. Well, sometimes the truth hurts, Dani. Dani said: “One of the cultural shifts that has pushed me to become a writer is that we are generally apathetic and uninformed in the US.” Do you have any proof of this? Dani said: “I read your evidence (one of which was an opinion piece, much like the one our comments lie beneath, so it can be disputed, I suppose).” Go ahead. Do you have any proof that the things I posted are untrue? Dani said: “I actually read much evidence before posting my blog, from both sides of the argument.” Then you’re admitting you deliberately omitted information about Walpin’s firing. Dani said: “Obviously, when I said that my blog was my opinion, I was just admitting that I am not omniscient…” Omniscient means “all knowing.” Of course none of us know everything, yet you admit you knew about the other evidence but deliberately omitted it…why did you do that? Dani said: “I don’t believe that I was wrong…” So, when faced with evidence that refutes your view, you simply refuse to debate? The information I posted proves that you are wrong. Try to have some integrity and admit it.

    July 2, 2009
    Reply
  11. DeltaFour said:

    Altfreq11 – you are starting to sound like the “Hard-Bitten Ghost” in C.S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce. Your counter-attempt at claiming that Americans are not apathetic is flawed. Blogger Dani’s comment that, “many are apathetic” does not require “proof.” What it does require, however, is perspective. If an individual is fully consumed by sports, or entertainment celebrity; If this individual is constantly reading People Magazine for all of the up to date details regarding the rich and famous; then, he is obviously not apathetic. At least, not in that specific arena. That is, with regard to celebrity he is observant, animated, and fully engaged. He may however exhibit a weakness to being passionately involved in understanding government health care. In this specific area we might call him disinterested, inattentive, callous, or even apathetic. So the correct question to Blogger Dani, is not, “Where is your ‘proof’?”, but, “What perspective are you trying to highlight?” Additionally, even if an individual was completely supportive of your ideas regarding the inaccuracy of some of the details, it seems to me that in the very height of their concern for their own precision, they run the risk of arrogance and apathy towards other confrontational, but legitimate, opinions. My generic question is: “Is this type of arrogance ever be justified?” And, it is my contention that it is not. Further, it will turn out to be universally unprofitable. Remember, “If I do not have love, I am a like noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” So, it appears to me, that what started as fairly good Blog has turned into the worst sort of blogging endeavor – one without Grace. For ‘proof’ of this contention look here: http://net.bible.org/passage.php?search=gal 5:13-18&passage=gal 5:13-18 “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; 1 only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” However, if you continually bite and devour one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires 10 that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to 11 each other, so that you cannot do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

    July 4, 2009
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  12. altfreq11 said:

    DeltaFour said: “If it’s not appropriate to accuse the administration of mis-handling the case against Walpin (because there are two sides to the story), then is it appropriate to accuse Blogger Dani of “false accusations”? ” Yes, because Dani made false accusations.

    July 6, 2009
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