Inspector General situation updates.
Pride of place probably goes to this interview of SIGTARP (and Obama ’08 supporter) Neil Barofsky by Jake Tapper (via Hot Air). Barofsky engaged in a strong pushback to the White House / Treasury Department’s attempt to contradict his release of numbers indicating that the administration was planning to spend 23.7 trillion dollars to repair our financial system; the best quote from that was probably “Perhaps their criticism is that we dare to do math.” Barofsky was also very firm about the fact that he has no intention of going back on the administration’s own stated ideals of transparency. Listen to the whole thing, and contemplate that this all started with a 700 billion dollar bailout, with a review period in the middle. Funny how this balloons, huh? – And Barofsky doesn’t even think that there’s particular amounts of skullduggery going on.
Meanwhile, there’s the Walpin thing. It turns out (via the Sundries Shack) that Rep Doris Matsui (D-CA), whose district includes Sacramento, called up the administration to get stimulus money for the city. This was done at the end of March; and the reason that she intervened was because Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was at the time under a dispute with IG Gerald Walpin about Johnson’s misappropriation of AmeriCorps funds for personal services. A timeline is necessary at this point:
- End of March: Matsui petitions administration for release of stimulus funds.
- Beginning of April: Acting US Attorney settles with Mayor Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, requiring them to pay back half of the federal grant money issued them by AmeriCorps. Walpin is excluded from further involvement in the matter.
- May 20, 2009: Walpin uses a letter alleging possible new evidence of obstruction of justice to argue that the investigation be reopened. There is also some suggestion that Walpin would issue a press statement on the matter (as it happens, he handed over the details to the FBI instead). AmeriCorps is, of course, very much a favorite of this administration; and Kevin Johnson was a prominent supporter of the President.
- June 11, 2009: The White House fires Walpin without explanation, and only provides a reason to do so (supposedly, diminished mental capacity as ‘seen’ during the May 20th meeting) when Senator Charles Grassley (R) starts pointing out that they’re actually required to do so by law.
Since then all of this has been coming out: Robert McCain in particular has been covering this (see here, here, and here). He’s not particularly impressed with the willingness of Democrats to ignore the implications – and really, neither am I; but I don’t think that either of us are particularly surprised, either. The more that one looks into this, the more hidden minefields there are in the form of entrenched Democratic party interests. You have to expect that their lower-level staffers and officials are not particularly willing to screw their courage to the sticking point on this one…
Crossposted to Moe Lane.