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Sunday, June 14, 2009
Fired IG Runs to WND, Spins Misleading Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 13 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn features claims by Gerald Walpin, a former inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal office that oversees AmeriCorps, that he was fired by the Obama administration because he "filed two reports exposing gross misappropriation of federal AmeriCorps funds by a prominent Barack Obama supporter." Zahn, however, does not appear to have any interest whatsoever in telling the full story, even though such information was available prior to the publication of his article.

Zahn states that Walpin "Walpin dared to push for action against the St. HOPE Academy program – run by Obama supporter and former NBA star Kevin Johnson – which had misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal AmeriCorps funds." But there's more to the story that Zahn doesn't tell. According to Talking Points Memo:

- Later that month, Walpin, on behalf of CNCS, released the findings of the federal probe, which it appears he had led. Walpin found that St. HOPE had improperly used hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money, by using AmeriCorps volunteers to run errands for Johnson, wash his car, and do political work relating to a local school board race. Saying he had found "potential criminal violations," Walpin recommended that while the US attorney's office's investigation was ongoing, Johnson and another St. HOPE official be barred from receiving federal money. But as the Bee would later note in an editorial, "Walpin decided to act before any legal body determined whether irregularities in the administration of grants from 2004-2007 reflected inadvertent errors and ignorance of regulations or actual fraud."

- Nonetheless, days later, a "debarment official" at CNCS followed up on Walpin's recommendation, taking the rare step of issuing a letter suspending Johnson and the other official from receiving federal funds. Walpin touted the news in "huge red headlines" on his IG website, according to the Bee.

- The Bee would later find that, since its inception in 1994, the NCSC had suspended only two other organizations and three other people, and that the irregularities at St. HOPE were similar to those found at other nonprofits that were not suspended.

- Johnson's camp called the findings "relatively minor issues," and called Walpin, who was appointed to his post by President Bush, a "right-wing Republican." Johnson's campaign cited a 2005 incident in which Walpin had introduced Mitt Romney at a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society -- on whose board Walpin sits -- by saying that Romney served as governor of a state, Massachusetts, run by the "modern-day KKK ... the Kennedy-Kerry Klan."


So here's what it sounds like: Johnson and his non-profit ran a very loose operation, which deserved some kind of sanction. But Walpin's action -- in publicly suggesting, without much apparent evidence, that Johnson might have committed a crime, and having Johnson barred from receiving federal funds, ultimately jeopardizing the fortunes of the city as a whole after Johnson became mayor -- was out of all proportion to the wrongdoing.

ABC's Jake Tapper further reports that the U.S. Attorney's office through which Walpin's charges would have been filed found that Walpin withheld exculapory information from the office -- in the office's words, Walpin "overstepped his authority by electing to provide my office with selective information and withholding other potentially significant information at the expense of determining the truth" -- and made pronouncements in the media before discussing them with the office, thus "hindering our investigation and handling of this matter." 

Walpin's actions, Tapper reports, "repeatedly offended officials of the US Attorney's office, to the point that the Republican-appointee in the US Attorney's office filed an official complain[t] aginst the Republican-appointed Inspector General."

Zahn does not tell his readers the details of the U.S. attorney's complaints, but he wrote that Walpin "pointed out that the inspector general has not been found guilty of any misconduct, and the charges are disputed." Nor does Zahn report the important fact that Walpin is a Republican, as is the U.S. attorney who complained about him.

Remember that WND has a history of lying and misleading about Obama, so expect Zahn to behave just like Walpin and withhold exculpatory information.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT

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