We’ve written several times about the Obama administration’s firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin, apparently in retaliation against Walpin’s investigation of an Obama crony in Sacramento. A bipartisan Congressional group is investigating the firing, and is running into a brick wall. Byron York reports that the general counsel of AmeriCorps’ parent organization is refusing to divulge information about the White House’s involvement in Walpin’s firing:
Frank Trinity, general counsel for the Corporation, met with a bipartisan group of congressional investigators on Monday. When the investigators asked Trinity for details of the role the White House played in the firing, Trinity refused to answer, according to two aides with knowledge of the situation.
“He said that’s a prerogative of the White House, so he didn’t feel at liberty to disclose anything regarding White House communications,” says one aide.
Investigators asked Trinity whether he was claiming executive privilege, something that could only be authorized by the president. Trinity answered again that it was a White House “prerogative.” When the investigators pointed out that, in the words of one aide, “there is no legal basis whatsoever” for such a claim, Trinity still declined to answer.
According to the knowledgeable sources, Trinity refused to say what contacts the Corporation had with the White House prior to the firing, or after the firing. He refused to say who at the Corporation had spoken to whom at the White House. He refused to say whether Corporation officials had discussed the specific reasons for the firing with the White House.
Obama’s aides apparently are still trying to come up with an excuse for getting rid of Walpin. They have now identified something entirely new: a parody “newsletter” that someone in Walpin’s IG office produced on the occasion of another employee’s retirement. The newsletter is supposed to offend someone’s “racial and gender sensitivities,” although the quoted portions of it seem unobjectionable to me. In any event, Walpin didn’t write it.
There isn’t any doubt that it was the White House that made the decision to fire Walpin; it was a White House lawyer, Obama’s Special Counsel Norman Eisen, who called Walpin on his cell phone and demanded that Walpin resign within an hour. Moreover, since the White House is still trying to come up with a good reason for getting rid of Walpin, the conclusion that he was fired because he offended an Obama crony seems irresistible.