It didn’t take long for Obama to use the power of his office to benefit his crony friends. In June 2009 Inspector General Gerald Walpin was unceremoniously sacked by the White House because of his investigation of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a retired NBA star and staunch Obama supporter. Walpin caught Johnson misusing an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant intended for St. HOPE Academy. Instead of using the funds to improve educational opportunities for the students, as required by the terms of the grant, money was instead redirected towards non-official business including influencing a Sacramento Board of Education election, padding staff salaries, washing Johnson’s car and running personal errands for the Mayor.
Walpin’s investigation also uncovered allegations of sexual abuse by Johnson of three St. HOPE females. One student, who had been fondled by Johnson during a tutoring session at her home, told investigators that Johnson attorney Kevin Hiestand offered her a $1,000 a month AmeriCorps grant in exchange for her silence.
The Office of Inspector General report contained information regarding “two other female St. HOPE students reporting Johnson for inappropriate sexual conduct towards them.” Erik Jones, a teacher who had reported one of Johnson’s sexual assaults to police, wrote in his resignation letter “St. HOPE sought to intimidate the student through an illegal interrogation and even had the audacity to ask me to change my story.”
This wasn’t the first time that Johnson had been found sexually abusing minors. In 1995 Johnson was questioned by Phoenix police in relation to the fondling a 16-year-old girl. In response to the incident Johnson was quoted as saying “what you’re saying happened, I’m not entirely agreeing happened”. While charges were not filed because of lack of evidence, Johnson agreed to pay the girl’s family $230,000.
Rather than protecting children from a sexual predator and rewarding the IG who had exposed Johnson, Walpin was fired by the White House without providing Congress a 30-day notice as required by law. The official explanation for Walpin’s dismissal was based on unsubstantiated allegations of confusion and disorientation during an AmeriCorps board meeting. This explanation seemed farfetched as he appeared completely lucid during multiple television appearances following his firing.
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill questioned the Obama administration’s motivations when she wrote:
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.
A subsequent House investigation uncovered the “White House Counsel’s Office withheld information from Congress and misled investigators after Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley questioned the President’s methods and motives for removing Walpin.” The House report went on to document “Eisen’s failure to thoroughly and authentically investigate the basis of the complaints about Gerald Walpin and the White House’s refusal to provide details about its inquiry fueled speculation that Walpin was removed for pursuing a political ally of the President.”
Since Obama was elected his administration has waged war against the independent Inspector Generals throughout the federal government. In 2009 two IGs were abruptly shown the door including Neil Barofsky at Treasury who had been investigating the misuse of Obama stimulus funds. The appropriations for the IG staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service was cut by almost 50% in 2012.
Obama has also neglected to fill multiple IG vacancies including “the Department of State (vacant for nearly 1,500 days), the Department of Justice (nearly 400 days), the Department of Homeland Security (more than 360 days), and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (nearly 400 days).”