So the president ordered the termination of the inspector general who provides oversight for AmeriCorps, and he apparently did it in a hasty manner and without providing any sort of reason. Even stranger yet is that in doing so quickly and without stated cause, Obama runs afoul of the Inspectors General Reform Act, a bill introduced last year which requires the president to provide 30 days prior notice and stated reason before firing an inspector general, needed protection for an official charged with independently investigating corruption, waste and fraud.
Obama himself, then the junior senator from Illinois, co-sponsored the legislation.
According to a report from Fox News, the inspector general in question was likely looking into a controversy surrounding AmeriCorps and Sacramento, CA mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star turned politician. Johnson had apparently arranged for AmeriCorps volunteers to run personal errands, wash his car, and more — all essentially on the federal dime.
I don’t know nearly enough about the underlying facts, but from where I’m sitting this looks like one of two possible scenarios: Either Barack Obama has ignored the legislation he co-sponsored in order to assist a troubled African-American mayor with a decent jump shot, or he used the controversy surrounding this inspector general and Kevin Johnson to remove the George W. Bush-appointed oversight official and replace a possibly adverse watchdog with one of his own.
Either way, it’s more than shady. The way I look at it, the only possible way that the Obama administration can come out of this smelling like roses is if the inspector general in question, Gerald Walpin, was somehow involved in something about which we have not yet learned.
On its face, this situation looks like an inspector general was fired for simply doing his job. Or, he was rightly terminated for being involved in something he shouldn’t. With this administration’s propensity for looking to grab power where it can, combined with its plans for AmeriCorps and the talked-about “civil defense force,” I cannot help but raise an eyebrow and wait for the other shoe to drop.