Gerald Walpin, the fired AmeriCorps Inspector General, promises to be a thorn in the Obama administration’s side for some time to come: he has sued for reinstatement, alleging that he was fired illegally by the administration.
I’m not an expert in the relevant fields of the law, but to a casual observer it does appear that Walpin’s firing likely was illegal. The administration can deal with the suit in some combination of four ways: move for dismissal, move to stay the case, move for a confidentiality order that will prevent facts learned in discovery from becoming public, or buy Walpin off with a settlement. Based on my limited knowledge, it’s hard to see grounds for either a dismissal or a stay, and it will be tough to run out the clock given that the Obama administration has 3 1/2 years left, at least. And Walpin may prove hard to buy off: he got into trouble with the administration (and with the AmeriCorps board) because he wanted to stand on principle rather than sweep a scandal under the rug for the sake of stimulus money, and his suit doesn’t request money damages–only reinstatement. It will be interesting to see whether Obama decides the better part of valor lies in giving Walpin his old job back.