Friday, June 12, 2009
Abuse Of Power, Obama-Style
Byron York exposes Obama's targeting of AmeriCorp's Inspector General, an independant officer supposedly protected by law from political pressure from either the president or Congress. Specifically because of those protections, firing one of these guys is big news, as York details. But it's the Obama Show now, and things get done the way they get done inside the Chicago Machine, so the White House phoned AmeriCorps IG Gerald Walpin and told him he had an hour to either quit or be fired, Obama's intention being to bypass federal legislation he voted for as a senator that requires the president to give Congress thirty days' notice of such a move and a clear reason for the dismissal.
Obama's stated reason? It's just time to move on, yuk yuk. Obama's real reason? Walpin was getting too close to Obama supporters involved in federal funding fraud. It looks to be widespread and to involve the First Klingon as well, as we will see. But first, the case in point, Sacremento mayor and close Obama friend and supporter Kevin Johnson, whom Walpin found had misused a federal grant of $850,000 to his NGO, St. HOPE. Surprise, surprise. Walpin set the dogs on St. HOPE, and the U.S. attorney came to the same conclusion as Walpin; Obama's friend Johnson was forced to reimburse the feds almost half the original $850,000 grant:
Senate sources now believe Obama is firing Walpin over Walpin's investigation of Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and a prominent supporter of the president.This shines a light on the thuggish methods Obama employs behind the veil of all that flowery oratory. Love Obama, he loves you; get in his way, and you'll join everyone else under that ever-larger bus.
Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento, California, started a non-profit organization called St. Hope. The group's mission, according to its website, is "to revitalize inner-city communities through public education, civic leadership, economic development and the arts." [Community organizers. Why does it always have to be community organizers? ~ Ed.] As part of its work, St. Hope received a grant of about $850,000 from AmeriCorps.
Last year, Walpin began an investigation of how Johnson's group spent the money. According to the Associated Press, "[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car." Walpin asked federal prosecutors to investigate. In April, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, a Bush holdover, declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and also criticized Walpin's investigation.
That might suggest that St. HOPE was OK, and it was Walpin who was in the wrong. But at the same time prosecutors decided not to file any charges against St. HOPE, the U.S. attorney's office also entered into a settlement with St. HOPE in which the group also agreed to pay back about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.
The bottom line is that the AmeriCorps IG accused a prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money. After an investigation, the prominent Obama supporter had to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money. And Obama fired the AmeriCorps IG.Given Obama's record of surrounding himself with surrogate thugs to do his often illegal dirty work, how long before all that muck begins sticking to his robes?
Ed Morrissey also sees a pattern:
In fact, regardless of the commentary from the US Attorney, Congress gave IGs this level of protection precisely to avoid this kind of action by the White House. Obama doesn’t want IGs investigating his cronies and political allies, and the evidence for this is rather clear from the way the White House handled it. Instead of going to Congress, which the lawyers in the White House should have known was the correct procedure, they attempted to intimidate Walpin out of his job first. Apparently they didn’t have a good enough case for the proper procedure.But it doesn't end there.
Gee, does that sound (cough-cough Chrysler) at all (cough-cough GM) familiar (cough-cough AIG)? It’s more of the madman theory of the Presidency — and once again, it involves abuse of power.
Will Congress stand up to the executive branch and protect the Inspectors General? Or will they roll over and allow Obama to accrue even more power to protect his buddies and to allow corruption to run rampant?
The Good Michelle uncovers the Bad Michelle's meddling in this and other related federal grant fraud cases. Seems the Bad Michelle is consolidating her power over the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which oversees AmeriCorps, Serve and Learn and the Senior Corps. Read on:
At the core of this story is the Obamas' bare-knuckled abuse of power to clear the playing field of any and all opposition, even, perhaps especially, if it appears in the form of an honest government functionary simply doing his job.
This little-noticed story in Youth Today yesterday points to another example of Walpin blowing the whistle on fraud:
The inspector general (IG) of the Corporation for National and Community Service is being removed by President Barack Obama, a week after the IG questioned the eligibility of the largest and most expensive AmeriCorps program, and while the IG was contesting the “propriety” of a settlement made with a mayor for alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds.
…Funding for the largest AmeriCorps program - the Teaching Fellows Program, run by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York - is in abeyance pending resolution of widespread problems identified in a recent audit. Although Walpin recommended that funding be curtailed and that previous funds (perhaps as much as $75 million) be repaid to the corporation, the corporation has said it will take no action on that matter.
Walpin concluded that nothing was being gained by the grants to CUNY and that the money was simply being used to subsidize an existing and funded program.
Flashback on the Americorps/ACORN fraud history, circa 2004:
Although ACORN’s projects run a wide gamut, the group claims as its purpose helping low- and middle-income Americans — through initiatives ranging from improving urban public schools, to providing counseling on how to avoid “predatory lending,” to increasing the availability of “affordable housing.” Most of these programs are conducted locally, by state-level ACORN organizations — which are often set up as 501(c)3 nonprofit entities distinct from the national ACORN umbrella, a 501(c)4 lobbying organization. Sounds benign enough — except that, according to Bob Huberty, executive vice president of the Capital Research Center, these tax-exempt 501(c)3s “have no reason for existence other than to get grants from the government and foundations.” They are, essentially, an ACORN front for asking Uncle Sam to subsidize political activity.
Ask ACORN does — and it definitely receives. Take, for example, the most recent tax information from one of ACORN’s subsidiary nonprofits: the ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc., based out of the organization’s national headquarters in New Orleans. For the tax year beginning July 1, 2002, and ending June 30, 2003, ACORN Housing Corp.’s 990 Form shows a total of $1,710,203 received in government grants (the year before, the total was $1,977,306).
The nominal purpose of those millions is to “provide low rent housing & loan counseling services to low income individuals.” But if the government is funding the actual, legitimate work of ACORN at the local 501(c)3 level, it means that the national lobbying organization can dedicate more of its unrestricted resources to electioneering. Furthermore, explains Craig Garthwaite, director of research at the Employment Policies Institute, “The funding is not only fungible in that if they receive money for X, they can spend more on Y.” He cites one particular example of money-rerouting malfeasance: the crooked dealings surrounding an AmeriCorps grant in 1996. According to an EPI study, when the ACORN Housing Corp. applied for the grant, they denied any connections to the main ACORN lobbying group (the grant is not for political advocacy). But the AmeriCorps inspector general discovered that “not only was AHC created by ACORN, engaged in numerous transactions with one another, and sharing staff and office space — but it utilized the AmeriCorps grant to increase ACORN membership, a violation of federal guidelines.” (ACORN charges membership dues, much as labor unions do; thus, by exploiting AmeriCorps funding to inflate its membership rolls, ACORN used government resources to bring in even more money — money with no restrictions on its political use.)
And another relevant flashback on Michelle Obama’s interest in government-directed “service,” via IBD last fall:
Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies in 1993. Obama plans to use the nonprofit group, which he features on his campaign Web site, as the model for a national service corps. He calls his Orwellian program, “Universal Voluntary Public Service.”
Big Brother had nothing on the Obamas. They plan to herd American youth into government-funded reeducation camps where they’ll be brainwashed into thinking America is a racist, oppressive place in need of “social change.”
The pitch Public Allies makes on its Web site doesn’t seem all that radical. It promises to place young adults (18-30) in paid one-year “community leadership” positions with nonprofit or government agencies. They’ll also be required to attend weekly training workshops and three retreats.
In exchange, they’ll get a monthly stipend of up to $1,800, plus paid health and child care. They also get a post-service education award of $4,725 that can be used to pay off past student loans or fund future education.
But its real mission is to radicalize American youth and use them to bring about “social change” through threats, pressure, tension and confrontation — the tactics used by the father of community organizing, Saul “The Red” Alinsky…
What about the threat of possible future opposition? What's the matter, don't you read Saul Alinsky? It's easy: catch it on the way up. Just force everyone's kids into “Universal Voluntary Public Service”, where they can be reprogrammed into slavering Obama Youth. Nothing that hasn't been done before.
Now, sit back and watch as the press attacks Walpin on Obama's behalf.
The upside: it simply cannot last.