Times Leaves Out Details from Its Tardy Story on Gerald Walpin

The Times' Neil Lewis finally covers the tale of Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of AmeriCorps, who was fired under shady circumstances by the White House after pushing to prosecute an Obama ally. But Lewis left out some key details.

On Thursday, liberal legal reporter Neil Lewis finally took on the simmering controversy over Gerald Walpin, the inspector general for AmeriCorps, abruptly fired by the White House last week, in "White House Defends Inspector General's Firing." Walpin claims he was dismissed by Obama because of a critical report he made about a program run by Kevin Johnson, an Obama supporter and former NBA star who isnow mayor of Sacramento.

The White House said Wednesday that President Obama had dismissed a government agency's internal watchdog because he was incompetent and had behaved bizarrely, disputing accusations that he was fired because he had uncovered embarrassing problems in the AmeriCorps program.

Last week, Mr. Obama abruptly fired the watchdog, Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, who was a holdover from the Bush administration, saying little except that he had lost confidence in Mr. Walpin.

But the president quickly encountered resistance from the Senate, including from a fellow Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who said Mr. Obama had not provided sufficient reason for the dismissal, as required under a recent law intended to protect the independence of the corps of inspectors general.

Mr. Walpin suggested in interviews that his dismissal was connected to two recent reports in which he was critical of programs that received money from AmeriCorps, which provides living allowances and education grants to volunteers for community groups.

One program in California was run by an Obama supporter, Kevin Johnson, a former N.B.A. star who is now the mayor of Sacramento. The other was run by the City College of New York and involved a teacher-training program.

But Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wasn't impressed with Lewis's belated report, arguing the article qualified as "White House spin" for two key omissions:

  • The law governing the IGs require the White House to not just provide reasonable cause, but also a 30-day notice to Congress before taking any action.
  • Lewis neglects to mention anywhere in this article that the White House called Walpin first in an attempt to intimidate him into resigning.

Morrissey argued:

Both of these points are key to understanding the abuse of power attempted by the White House with Walpin.The White House wanted Walpin out, as well as discredited, as quickly as possible so that he could not interfere with a sweetheart deal to let a political ally off the hook for fraud.This became especially important when Walpin began communicating to Congress about his opposition to the deal with Kevin Johnson in Sacramento.They needed him out, and fast.