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Obama Fires AmeriCorps Inspector-General Walpin

Commentor Steve at VC wrote: “Here are pdfs of
Obama’s letter to Pelosi and Greg Craig’s letter to Sen. Grassley.

For additional information, here are the Acting US Attorney’s letter of
complaint about the IG
and the IG’s written
response
.” Thank you, Steve! These 4 documents (you
need all of them) go to the heart of the matter.

(1) Has Obama satisfied the statutory requirement? The point of
such a statute is to force the President to come out and give a
reason for the firing so that reason can be publicly discussed. I
think it would be unconstitutional to require him to give a good
reason– he should be able to say, “I fired him because he’s ugly,”
if he wants to. But the statute still has bite, because now people
can criticize the decision. In this case, we can say, “Obama
should not fire an IG just because he doesn’t have the fullest
confidence in him. He admits that he isn’t firing the IG because
the IG did anything wrong– it’s just a matter of Obama’s own
feelings. That’s a stupid reason, and we think the real reason is
something else that Obama can’t defend.”

(2) The only reason not to think this isn’t a gross scandal worthy
of impeachment is the strong approval of two other people:
Steve Goldsmith, former Indianapolis mayor, and the acting US
Attorney Larry Brown (if we do confirm that the President
firing an IG because the IG tried to make sure a political ally was
punished appropriately for fraudulent use of federal funds isn’t
that worthy of impeachment?).

I don’t know about Goldsmith, even though I’m from Indiana.
Any ideas, people? Commentor Kent Scheidegger said that he
knew Larry Brown, and that he is a good guy. Larry Brown is a
career prosecutor, apparently, not a real Bush appointee, so we
don’t know his politics. Mr. Scheidegger, do you know if he’s a
liberal? Does anybody know if he has local or national ambitions
that would be relevant? (becoming the actual US Attorney, for
example, instead of just Acting)

(3) Steve’s the Acting US Attorney’s letter of
complaint about the IG
and the IG’s written
response
” are great reading on the substance of the firing,
because they are pro- and con- documents by the people
involved. In particular, read Larry Brown’s letter. After reading it,
I think more than ever that this is a major scandal, if that’s the
best attack that can be mounted on the IG.

Brown’s complaint boils down to saying that the IG has an
opinion on whether criminal and civil violations occurred, the IG
thinks the US Attorney’s office is being slack, and the IG has
made public comment on the case instead of letting the US
Attorney keep it under wraps. Whether the IG is right or wrong,
I thought a big part of his job was to publicize wrongdoing
(though not to prosecute). He has no direct power, after all, just
the power to investigate, refer, and publicize. He couldn’t even
suspend the culprit from getting money from his agency– all he
could do was recommend it to the Americorps political
leadership, who made the decision first to suspend and then to
unsuspend.

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