Federal Eye: Obama’s Firing of AmeriCorps IG Probed

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded that the Corporation for National and Community Service provide “any and all records, e-mail, memoranda, documents, communications, or other information” related to President Obama’s no-confidence dismissal last week of the Corporation’s inspector general Gerald Walpin, including any communications with aides to the president and first lady Michelle Obama.

Walpin, a registered Republican, was appointed to the post in 2007 by President George W. Bush after spending more than 30 years as a federal prosecutor and private attorney in New York City. The Corporation’s board chairman Alan Solomont, a Democrat, and vice chairman Stephen Goldsmith, a Republican, strongly endorsed Obama’s decision.

“In light of the removal of the Inspector General, it is vital that Congress obtain a full understanding of the role that you and your colleagues at CNCS played in these matters,” Grassley wrote in his letter to Solomont, requesting he provide the information by Friday.

The Iowa Republican wants to determine if Corporation officials said anything to White House staffers about Walpin’s tenure in an attempt to get him fired, according to a spokeswoman for the senator. Grassley’s interest in Mrs. Obama’s potential involvement comes as recent reports suggest she is involved in key decisions at the Corporation. The first lady’s former chief of staff Jackie Norris was given a position as a senior adviser to the Corporation, which she is scheduled to begin next week.

The White House would not comment yesterday on the specifics of Walpin’s departure, but did refute the reports regarding the first lady.

“Mrs. Obama is an energetic advocate for the mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service, but is not involved in the day-to-day management of the agency,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“The President will appoint a replacement in whom he has full confidence as the Corporation carries out its important mission,” he later said.

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