Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We been here before 2
McCaskill questions Obama team over firing of IG
UPDATE: (3:10 p.m.) McCaskill just released a statement (below) saying the Obama administration is now in "full compliance" with the law.
Sen. Claire McCaskilli Sen. Claire McCaskill, known for her close ties to President Obama, criticized his administration Tuesday because it "failed to follow the proper procedure" in notifying Congress about removing an inspector general.
The inspector general in question is Ge
Gerald Walpinrald Walpin who watches over AmeriCorps and other programs in the Corporation for National and Community Service.
McCaskill wrote a a law that requires the president to give Congress 30 days advance notice of an IG’s dismissal along with cause for the termination.
Said McCaskill on Tuesday:
"The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal.
"‘Loss of confidence’ is not a sufficient reason. I’m hopeful the White House will provide a more substantive rationale, in writing, as quickly as possible,” McCaskill said.
She was one of several senators to who expressed concerns over Walpin's dismissal.
Later Tuesday, the administration said it removed Walpin in part because he was “confused” and “disoriented” at a meeting last month.
In a letter to Congress Tuesday night, Obama ethics counsel Norm Eisen said this:
"Mr. Walpin was removed after a review was unanimously requested by the bi-partisan Board of the Corporation. The Board’s action was precipitated by a May 20, 2009, Board meeting at which Mr. Walpin was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the Board to question his capacity to serve.
"We further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation’s headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation’s Board; that he had exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers; and that he had engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct,” Eisen wrote.
The letter also said a complaint had been filed against Walpin by the acting U.S. Attorney in Sacramento accusing Walpin of failing to disclose evidence in an investigation.
"Mr. Walpin had become unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness and, for the reasons stated above, losing the confidence of the Board and the agency. It was for these reasons that Mr. Walpin was removed,” Eisen wrote.
Reached at his home in New York Tuesday night, Walpin called the allegations in the Eisen letter "absolutely amazing.
"Anybody who’s heard me speaking more than I’m used to speaking on radio and TV in recent days, obviously under great pressure from what happened would clearly know that I know what I’m saying and what I’m doing and I’m not incoherent," Walpin told POLITICO.
"There’s nothing confusing about malfeasance and there’s nothing confusing about what appears to be the fact that they terminated me because I was doing my job because the White House wanted to protect people who proclaim they are friends of the White House."
That may be a reference to his investigation of Kevin Johnson, a former Phoenix Suns star guard in the NBA who also is a prominent Obama supporter. Johnson runs a non-profit education group.
A second statement from McCaskill is expected today.
McCaskill expressed disappointment that the White House initially failed to follow proper procedure by not giving the reasons for Walpin’s removal.
However, the additional information provided late Tuesday in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee put the White House in full compliance with the notice requirement in the law.
The law was authored by McCaskill and requires the president to give Congress 30 days advance notice of an IG’s dismissal, along with reasons for the termination.
“Last night, in response to my request for adequate information on the firing of Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service Gerald Walpin, the White House submitted a letter to Senators Lieberman and Collins that now puts the White House in full compliance with the notice requirement in the law.
"The next step for Congress is to use the 30 days provided by the notice to seek further information and undertake any further review that might be necessary. The reasons given in the most recent White House letter are substantial and the decision to remove Walpin appears well founded.”
White House travel office controversy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Travelgate)
The White House travel office controversy, often referred to as Travelgate, was the first major scandal of the Clinton administration. It began in May 1993, when seven longtime employees of the White House Travel Office were fired, after a brief investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The White House said the action was due to financial improprieties in the office operation. Critics said the actions were done to allow friends of the Clintons to take over the travel business and that the involvement of the FBI was unwarranted. Heavy media attention forced the White House to reinstate most of the employees in other jobs and remove the Clinton associates from the travel role.
Investigations by the FBI and the Department of Justice, the White House itself, the General Accounting Office, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, and the Whitewater Independent Counsel all took place over the subsequent years. Travel Office Director Billy Dale was charged with embezzlement but found not guilty at trial in 1995. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gradually came under scrutiny for allegedly having played a central role in the firings and making false statements about her role in it.
In 1998 Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr exonerated President Bill Clinton of any involvement in the matter. In 2000 Independent Counsel Robert Ray issued his final report on Travelgate, stating that Hillary Clinton had made factually false statements but saying there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her.