Three cases where the White House may have interfered with Inspectors General:
This is interesting. I looked around and perhaps I missed it on another blog, but the Chicago Tribune reports that it isn’t just Walpin’s firing over which Senator Grassley wants some answers. He’s worried about a pattern, as no fewer than three IG’s have recently been fired, all while investigating so-called sensitive issues.
We’ve already covered the case of Gerald Walpin, whose work brought him into conflict with Obama crony Kevin Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento. The White House and Johnson claim that there is no connection between the two, but this video from Naked Emperor News tells another story”
Walpin stands between the White House and their desire to use AmeriCorps as a reward system for their political allies and to use government money for the kind of “community organizing” that put Obama in the White House. His report to Congress made that difficult in Sacramento, where Mayor Johnson had been blocked from receiving federal grant money for his admitted earlier fraud. Walpin’s independence had to be removed, and in this case, Walpin had to be smeared to make it stick.
Now there are two others,
One of the other IGs is Neil Barofsky, tasked with watching over the financial stimulus spending. The article raises questions as to whether or not the Obama administration is trying to stymie an investigation with dubious claims of attorney-client privilege.
The third instance involves an acting IG for the International Trade Commission, Judith Gwynne, who has been told her contract would not be renewed amid allegations that an ITC employee forcibly took documents from her possession. Just three hours after Grassley sent along his letter asking questions, she was told she’d be hitting the road in July when her contract is up. Well, well, well.
The second example (Gerald Walpin being, of course, the first) was Neil Barofsky, TARP IG, and while it’s the less immediately worrisome of the two newly-publicized incidents it’s also the more sensitive. There aren’t many details on this available yet, but the dispute seems to be over how much oversight Treasury should have over the IGs assigned to monitor specific functions of the department – and how quickly and easily IGs should be given the documents that they need for their investigations. The answer should be ‘almost none’ and ‘as quickly and easily as can be arranged’… at least, that’s my opinion. More importantly, it’s also Senator Grassley’s. Barofsky apparently hasn’t lost his job over this, though. Yet. The third firing was of Judith Gwynn (often noted as Judith Gwynne, which should tell you how well regular journalism is covering this story), and it’s… very interesting, as well. She was an acting IG for the International Trade Commission (expect that to be brought up, usually with the table being pounded) who abruptly had her contract terminated right after Sen. Grassley’’s letter inquiring about an alleged physical assault* on her by an ITC staffer (expect that to be ignored for as long as possible) went to the White House.
Ed correctly points out that
We are seeing a pattern, no longer just a single data point. IGs work independently to protect taxpayers from corruption and abuse from its own government agencies. A coordinated attack on IGs certainly suggests hostility to that mission