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Firing of the Inspector General - Michelle Rhee Sex Cover-Up

Firing of the Inspector General - Michelle Rhee Sex Cover-Up

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Published by John Kugler
A report by Republicans in Congress about the Obama administration’s firing of a government agency’s internal watchdog suggests that the school chancellor in Washington intervened on behalf of her current fiancé, who was under investigation by the watchdog.
A report by Republicans in Congress about the Obama administration’s firing of a government agency’s internal watchdog suggests that the school chancellor in Washington intervened on behalf of her current fiancé, who was under investigation by the watchdog.

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Published by: John Kugler on Apr 14, 2010
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10/25/2011

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 The Firing of the Inspector General forThe Corporation for National and Community ServiceJoint Staff Report111
th
CongressSenate Finance CommitteeSen. Charles E. Grassley, Ranking MemberHouse Committee on Oversight and Government ReformRep. Darrell Issa, Ranking Member
November 20, 2009
 
 2Table of Contents
Background........................................................................................................................3
 
I.
 
Executive Summary............................................................................................3
 
II.
 
Findings................................................................................................................7
 
III.
 
Barack Obama Announced Ambitious Plans for CNCS ................................ 9
 A. The Obama Administration’s Relationship with CNCS ..................................10
IV.
 
Kevin Johnson’s Friendship with Barack Obama ........................................ 12
 
V.
 
Inspector General Gerald Walpin Investigated Kevin Johnson ................. 13
 A. The Investigation of St. HOPE ........................................................................14B. Kevin Johnson and St. HOPE are Suspended ..................................................19C. Involvement of the U.S. Attorney’s Office ......................................................21
VI.
 
Gerald Walpin Criticized CNCS Leadership ................................................ 23
 A. The Office of the Inspector General Issued a Special Report to Congress ......24B. CNCS May 20, 2009 Board Meeting ...............................................................34
VII.
 
Gerald Walpin Is Fired by President Obama ............................................... 39
 A. CNCS Board Chairman Alan Solomont is a Prominent Democrat Fundraiser39B. Alan Solomont Went to the White House........................................................40
VIII.
 
The White House Repeatedly Changed the Explanation for RemovingWalpin................................................................................................................43
 A. Gerald Walpin was Removed in Contravention of the IG Act ........................43B. Norman Eisen Misrepresented the Scope of His “Investigation” ....................47
IX.
 
The White House’s “Investigation” ................................................................ 50
 A. Eisen Received Substantive Input from Only One Member of the CNCSBoard of Directors Prior to Firing Gerald Walpin ...........................................50B. CNCS Acting CEO Nicola Goren and General Counsel Frank Trinity...........56
X.
 
Conclusion.........................................................................................................61
 
 
 3
Background
This inquiry began on Thursday June 11, 2009, when Inspector General GeraldWalpin contacted Senate Finance and House Government Oversight Committee staff.Walpin notified Committee staff that on the previous evening, President Barack Obama’sSpecial Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform had given him an ultimatum toresign or be terminated within one hour. The Counsel to the President delivered thisultimatum without prior notice or consultation with Congress, despite newly enactedstatutory provisions requiring that Congress receive 30 days prior notice of the removalof an Inspector General. Since that time, Committee staff has conducted witnessinterviews and reviewed over 4,300 pages of documents related to this matter. However,the review is necessarily incomplete because the White House has withheld keydocuments and information from Congress. No Committee with the authority to compelproduction of those documents has taken the steps necessary to do so. With thoselimitations noted, this report describes what the staff has learned about the circumstancessurrounding the removal of Gerald Walpin as Inspector General at the Corporation forNational and Community Service.
 
I. Executive Summary
President Barack Obama made national service a priority during his campaign forthe White House. Perhaps the most prominent feature of the President’s plan to increaselevels of national service is an expansion of the size and scope of the AmeriCorpsprogram. AmeriCorps is managed by the Corporation for National and CommunityService (“CNCS,” “the Corporation,” or “the Agency”), the nation’s largest grant-makerfor service and volunteer activities. President Obama signed the Edward M. KennedyServe America Act of 2009 (“Serve America Act”) on April 21, 2009, expanding theAmeriCorps program from 75,000 to 250,000 positions.First Lady Michelle Obama has involved herself in the President’s effort toincrease national service by making personnel decisions at the Corporation. According tonotes from a March 12, 2009 CNCS Board call, “the First lady will be playing a centralrole in the national service agenda.”
1
In June 2009, the First Lady’s former chief of staff was installed as an adviser to the Corporation. The First Lady has also been tasked withappointing the Corporation’s next Chief Executive Officer.While candidate Obama ran for the Democratic nomination and subsequently forPresident on a platform based in part on increased national and community service,CNCS Inspector General Gerald Walpin was overseeing an investigation of St. HOPEAcademy, a charter school founded and operated by Kevin Johnson, a former NBA starand self-described friend of Barack Obama.
2
Johnson was alleged to have misusedAmeriCorps grants by having members wash his car, run personal errands, and engage in
1
CNCS Board Call Notes, Mar. 12, 2009.
2
Interview with ABC Sacramento News 10, Oct. 30 2008, available athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMDmce4H0Z4&(last visited Sep. 21, 2009).

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