The folks at Politico have spoken with at least one member of the Americorps governing board about the firing of inspector general Gerald Walpin. Here are the crucial grafs:
“It was a very emotionally draining meeting for me and the rest of the board members,” a panel member told POLITICO Wednesday. “There were several periods of time where there were one- to two-minute pauses where he clearly was confused and was not able to respond to questions and was just going through his notes…..It was painful.”
The board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that part of Walpin’s initial presentation at that meeting was about the investigation he conducted into alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds at a school run by a former Phoenix Suns point guard, Kevin Johnson. ….At the May 20 meeting, Walpin “made reference to the fact that he was planning to issue some kind of statement later that day related to that matter,” the board member said. “At the conclusion, several of us raised the issue as to why he was going to be doing that…. At which point, he became confused and said he didn’t say that—even though several of us had written it down.”
Eventually the board gave up on the discussion and, after Walpin left, the bipartisan group acted unanimously to have chairman Alan Solomont ask the White House to remove Walpin, the panel member said.
The critical points are the confirmation of Walpin’s confusion, the fact that the move to fire came from the governing board not the administration, and the fact that the bipartisan board made that decision unanimously.
If all that pans out, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything here.
UPDATE: TalkingPointsMemo confirms the Politico reporting, quoting two board members:
“The firing would not have played itself out were it not for the fact that the board raised concerns about the IG, Gerald Walpin, after the May 20 board meeting, a board member told TPMmuckraker. The board member added that the White House had no role in encouraging the board to make the review request, calling it ‘completely board-initiated.’….
A second board member confirms to TPMmuckraker that it was the board’s concerns that led to the firing. The second board member said that the board had unanimously directed its chair, Alan Solomont, to inform the White House of the board’s serious concerns about Walpin’s performance, and that Solomont had done so.
‘No action would have been taken if the board had not, on a bipartisan basis, directed the chairman’ to talk to the White House, said the second board member. The move was ‘entirely unanimous — no division at all.’”