No inspector general can unearth corruption without access to his office, computer or staff. An “administrative leave” putting an IG in that position has the same effect, for all intents and purposes, as an immediate firing. That’s the basic logic behind former Inspector General Gerald Walpin’s lawsuit demanding at least temporary reinstatement to his job as watchdog at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). New revelations about the case from two lawmakers indicate that there is good reason to suspect duplicity from those who helped force Mr. Walpin’s overnight removal in June.
In the past 10 days, two major developments have occurred. First, Obama administration attorneys continued their efforts to deny Mr. Walpin his day in court. On Dec. 7, they filed reply briefs rearguing their demand that the case be dismissed without even a hearing. Second, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, both Republicans, have openly questioned the honesty of CNCS Chairman Alan D. Solomont. Most explosively of all, dirty deeds may have been employed to hide extensive involvement in the affair by the office of first lady Michelle Obama, whom the White House months earlier had announced would play “a central role in the national service agenda.”
Mr. Walpin’s suit claims that President Obama did not abide by the requirement in the Inspector General Act that IGs be given 30 days’ notice before being “removed” from office. Mr. Walpin instead was placed on “paid administrative leave” for 30 days. The new administration brief argues that such “leave” does not constitute “removal.”
Mr. Walpin’s suit explained that the entire reason for the 30-day-notice requirement is to ward off political interference with ongoing investigations. The administrative leave that denied him access to all the tools of his job, he contended, effectively “removed” him just as he was following up on two reports extremely critical of close allies of the Obamas or of Mr. Solomont.
I can’t really decide if Michelle or Barry are more like Nixon…. or the American Perons. Time will tell.