Friday, June 12, 2009

More things the Bush Administration would never have gotten away with

The Obama Administration fires Inspector General who has investigated Obama supporter, Sacramento mayor and former NBA All-star, Kevin Johnson:

President Barack Obama says he has lost confidence in the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs and has told Congress he is removing him from the position.

Obama's move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.

Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, a nonprofit group that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.

"It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general," Obama said in a letter Thursday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, who also serves as president of the Senate. "That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general."

Recall the outrage over the US Attorney firings under GW Bush. Firings, I would remind, that were perfectly legal as the President has the authority to fire and hire sitting US Attorneys at any time, for any reason.

The suggestion is, of course, that Obama's firing is purely politically motivated which then begs the question, where is the outrage? For perspective, see Byron York in the DC Examiner:

I’ve been trying to discover the real reason for Obama’s move, and it’s still not clear. I’m told that it could be a combination of the normal tensions that surround any inspector general’s office, or the president’s desire to get his own people in IG positions, or a dispute over a particular investigation. “Bottom line,” one source wrote, “getting rid of a tough, Republican-appointed IG who has been aggressively going after waste and fraud gives Obama a chance to replace that IG with a more compliant team player.”

I’m also told that a number of inspectors general around the government have been expressing concerns to Congress recently about threats to their independence. . . . Bottom line: The AmeriCorps IG accuses prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money. Prominent Obama supporter has to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money. Obama fires AmeriCorps IG.

In all fairness, as Byron points out, not every answer to this question is nefarious. But the appearance is surely that of impropriety.

So my question is, where is the outraged commentary that we so routinely saw in response to Bush Administration actions when similar questions of propriety hang in the air?

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