Iowa senator sends letter, loaded with questions, to White House Counsel after representative refuses to answer questions
Sen. Chuck Grassley met on Tuesday evening with Norman Eisen, White House special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, in order to glean some answers with regard to the ongoing controversy surrounding the firing of the inspector general tasked with oversight of AmeriCorps in the face of an investigation into corruption and misappropriation of AmeriCorps funds by a prominent Obama supporter.
According to Byron York at the Washington Examiner, Eisen had previously deemed the firing of Walpin “an act of political courage.” That’s right. Political courage. To me, the president of the United States running afoul of a law he co-sponsored by terminating an apolitical investigator who was looking into the misappropriation of $800,000 in AmeriCorps money by a supporter looks more like an act of political corruption.
Hardly surprising, Eisen’s answers were apparently not up to par. Grassley says that he “refused to answer several direct questions.” So, the Iowa Republican fired off a letter to White House Counsel Gregory Craig, posing a dozen questions the old fashioned way — in writing.
Here are the questions asked by Grassley:
- Did the [Corporation for National and Community Service] Board communicate its concerns about Mr. Walpin to the White House in writing?
- Specifically, which CNCS Board members came forward with concerns about Mr. Walpin’s ability to serve as the Inspector General?
- Was the communication about the Board’s concerns on or about May 20, 2009 the first instance of any communications with White House personnel regarding the possibility of removing Mr. Walpin?
- Which witnesses were interviewed in the course of Mr. Eisen’s review?
- How many witnesses were interviewed?
- Were any employees of the Office of Inspector General, who may have had more frequent contact with Mr. Walpin than the Board members, interviewed?
- Was Mr. Walpin asked directly during Mr. Eisen’s review about the events of May 20, 2009?
- Was Mr. Walpin asked for his response to the allegations submitted to the Integrity Committee by Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown?
- What efforts were made during Mr. Eisen’s review to obtain both sides of the story or to afford the Office of Inspector General an opportunity to be heard?
- In addition to the claim that Mr. Walpin was “confused” and “disoriented,” the letter also says he exhibited “other behavior” that led to questions about his capacity. What other behavior was Mr. Eisen referencing?
- If the initial and primary concern had to do with Mr. Walpin’s capacity to serve for potential health reasons, why was he only given one hour to decide whether to resign or be fired?
- If Mr. Walpin’s telecommuting arrangements since the beginning of this year were a major concern, then why was Mr. Walpin not simply asked to stop telecommuting?
In the letter, Grassley asked that the White House answer his dozen questions by Wednesday, June 24. See for yourself — here’s the letter (click to enlarge images):