President Obama’s dismissal of Gerald Walpin, former Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), has caused many in Congress to question the White House’s methods and motives. It also raises substantive questions about the Administration’s transparency and respect for the law, as well as the degree to which every Inspector General is protected from political retribution on the part of this administration.
Inspectors General are appointed to serve as unbiased agents of oversight that are crucial to preventing government waste, fraud and abuse. At a time when the federal government is spending record amounts of taxpayer money, the essential functions performed by Inspectors General all over the country couldn’t be more important.
Ensuring that taxpayer money is used for its intended purpose and not wastefully spent is of utmost importance to preserve the integrity of our government. Investigating the misuse of taxpayer money is imperative -- especially in this case – where there is credible evidence that Walpin’s investigation unearthed criminal activity on the part of an administration ally.
The way in which President Obama and the Administration have handled the firing of Walpin is also a concern for it reflects a lack of transparency within the White House. The law – which then-Senator Obama co-sponsored – requires the President to notify Congress 30 days prior to terminating an Inspector General. Once it became apparent that the Administration had neglected their legal responsibility, the President instead launched a media blitz to discredit the fired IG as “confused and disoriented.”
During his campaign and throughout the early days of his term, the President has pledged the American people an unprecedented level of transparency and openness. The firing of Walpin, however, is anything but transparent. It is, apparently, another act of Chicago-style politics.
The American people want answers, and I intend to pursue them.