Corruption Behind Firing of Corruption Watchdog
- 21 June 2009 by Author 0 Comments
Corruption Behind Firing of Corruption Watchdog
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 06/21/2009
It was spring, 2007. The blossoms were budding on the plentiful cherry trees in Washington, D.C., belying the storm fomenting within the halls of Congress and in the national media newsrooms. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had just dismissed a handful of U.S. Attorney’s, and the media as well as the opposition in Congress, were calling for his head and denouncing the firings, even though the president and the Attorney General, were fully within their rights and the law to dismiss them.
Fast forward to 2009. A new President has rolled out a massive “stimulus” bill purportedly to stimulate the economy, although a closer reading reveals the primary beneficiary will be expanded government growth. An Inspector General, who does not serve at the leisure of the president, as the U.S. Attorneys do, discovers fraud in the disposition of government funds by one of the new President’s ardent supporters. The supporter, who is also Mayor of Sacramento, likely will not get any of the stimulus money because of his misuse of AmeriCorps funds. The White House promptly fires the Inspector General for doing his job.
While we wouldn’t expect Congressional leaders to question the firing or call for hearings as they did of Gonzales, certainly the media will be all over such obvious cronyism and duplicity. Right? Wrong! It seems the mainstream media is so enamored with Obama that they refuse to report anything that may reflect poorly on him. Perhaps they’re also trying to avoid being taken over like the auto industry, like Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. Hardly a word of suspicion has been uttered by the media that now will broadcast from the White House, and whose anchors participate on a strategy and propaganda call orchestrated by the White House daily.
Inspectors General are hired by the government to investigate waste and fraud. Obviously, Gerald Walpin, the IG for AmeriCorps, a government program which pays volunteers for community service, was doing his job. He filed two reports exposing gross misappropriation by Kevin Johnson, former NBA star, who is also the Mayor of Sacramento and an Obama supporter. Walpin found Johnson had failed to use their federal grant money for the purposes specified, and had used the funds for, among other things, “driving [Johnson] to personal appointments, washing his car, and running personal errands.” Walpin reported that as much as $850,000 had been misappropriated. That’s a lot of car washes!
What makes this firing of Walpin even more egregious is the fact that Senator Barack Obama, in 2008, cosponsored legislation that was designed to assure the political independence of Inspectors General. According to that law (do you get the uneasy feeling that laws don’t seem to matter to our chief executive who is constitutionally the top law-enforcer?), the president must first send a letter to Congress declaring his intention to fire an Inspector General and provide the specific reasons why. It can’t be done as an afterthought as was attempted the next day by Obama. That letter is also designed to serve as a statutory 30 day notice to Congress of a dismissal. And yes, that 30 day statutory notice was required by the legislation that Obama cosponsored a mere two years ago. But that’s history, and one thing we’ve learned is that this president seems to have a hard time with history.
The law and constitutional limitations don’t seem to have much weight with this administration. Hillary Clinton was ineligible according to the Constitution, to be Secretary of State, having voted for a pay raise for that post. At last count, eight Obama appointees have a problem with paying taxes. Appointment of numerous “Tsars” within the administration is unconstitutional, even by Sen. Robert Byrd’s reckoning. The manner and details of the auto industry bailout and forced bankruptcy are illegal. The administration forced AIG to renege on contractual retention bonuses. President Obama failed to consult Congress, as promised, before carving out exceptions to the omnibus spending bill he signed into law, breaking his own signing-statement rules two days after issuing them.
I don’t think any of us who think about our politics, versus “feel” about them, are surprised by this duplicity. You remember all that talk about a new openness and transparency in Washington with the new administration? It obviously was just a ruse. With each passing day it becomes increasingly obvious that while our President can give a good talk and say some good things, his words are illusory and mask what’s really being done behind closed doors. What was Chicago-style politics has now gone big-time. Welcome to Washington-style politics!
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.