Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 10, 2009


Bryon York, Washington Examiner - A top official of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, has refused to answer questions from congressional investigators about the White House's role in events surrounding the abrupt firing of inspector general Gerald Walpin.

Frank Trinity, general counsel for the Corporation, met with a bipartisan group of congressional investigators. When the investigators asked Trinity for details of the role the White House played in the firing, Trinity refused to answer, according to two aides with knowledge of the situation.

"He said that's a prerogative of the White House, so he didn't feel at liberty to disclose anything regarding White House communications," says one aide.

Investigators asked Trinity whether he was claiming executive privilege, something that could only be authorized by the president. Trinity answered again that it was a White House "prerogative." When the investigators pointed out that, in the words of one aide, "there is no legal basis whatsoever" for such a claim, Trinity still declined to answer.

According to the knowledgeable sources, Trinity refused to say what contacts the Corporation had with the White House prior to the firing, or after the firing. He refused to say who at the Corporation had spoken to whom at the White House. He refused to say whether Corporation officials had discussed the specific reasons for the firing with the White House.

The last topic is particularly important to investigators, who believe the Obama administration may be constructing an after-the-fact rationale for canning Walpin.

When Walpin was fired on June 10, a White House lawyer told him that the president no longer had confidence in him. When congressional Democrats asked for a more detailed reason, the White House said Walpin had become "confused" and "disoriented" at a May 20 meeting with the board of the Corporation. Now, the story has shifted again, to emphasize allegations of racial and gender insensitivity in a parody newsletter produced to mark the retirement of a worker in Walpin's office in May 2008.

The newsletter, which was not written by Walpin, said that the departing worker, who handled procurement for the office, had "finally procured her federal retirement" from a "retirement vendor" who was a "qualified minority-female-veteran-disabled person." The newsletter also joked that the procurement official would be replaced by disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who specialized in "the procurement of blondes, brunettes, and redheads."

The newsletter was written more than a year before Walpin was fired. The board of the Corporation did not cite it as a reason for its unhappiness with Walpin. The White House did not mention the newsletter in earlier versions of its reasons for firing Walpin. Yet at the meeting with congressional investigators on Monday, Trinity pointed to the newsletter as one of the main reasons for Walpin's dismissal. When asked whether anyone at the Corporation had discussed the newsletter with anyone at the White House, Trinity refused to answer.


Anonymous disband the traitorous FBI and CIA said...

We really should have expected a tsunami of selfless sacrifice and cathartic revolutionary change from the guy who had the same financiers as bush/cheney. I think the guy's a chickenshit bum but what scares me is the insanity of his masters. Recently Obama distanced himself from the craziness of Bigmouth Biden's reflexive Israeli ass-kissing. Israel is at root a tool for control of the middle east by the psychos who control our politics, our media and our military/defense cancer. The last time a US president crossed those guys- by refusing to invade Cuba and deciding to reduce US involvement in Vietnam, the CIA murdered him. If these assholes are so stupid- and I believe they are- as to assassinate Obama, Watts will look like a kindergarten picnic. The people who will die first will be the most innocent, but then that's always the way.

July 10, 2009 6:29 PM  

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