One day after criticizing the Obama administration for mishandling the firing of an inspector general, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said Wednesday that the matter had been satisfactorily resolved.
McCaskill, a Democrat and ally of the president's, had been miffed that the administration did not follow a law she wrote that requires the president to give Congress 30 days advance notice of an inspector general’s dismissal along with cause for the termination.
She said neither of those conditions had been met in the firing of Gerald Walpin, who watches over AmeriCorps and other programs in the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of (Walpin),” McCaskill wrote on Tuesday.
She was among several senators to who had expressed concerns over Walpin’s dismissal.
But on Tuesday night, after McCaskill had voiced her displeasure, Obama ethics counsel Norm Eisen wrote a letter to Congress in which he said Walpin was removed in part because he was “confused” and “disoriented” at a meeting last month and “unable to answer questions.”
Eisen also said Walpin had been absent from the corporation’s headquarters and insisted on working from his New York home, despite objections from the corporation’s board.
Reached at his home in New York on Tuesday evening, Walpin called the allegations in the Eisen letter “absolutely amazing.
“Anybody who’s heard me speaking more than I’m used to speaking on radio and TV in recent days, obviously under great pressure from what happened, would clearly know that I know what I’m saying and what I’m doing and I’m not incoherent,” Walpin told Politico, the online journal.
Walpin said the White House discharged him because he was doing his job and the White House wanted to “protect people who proclaim they are friends of the White House.”
That may have been a reference to his investigation of Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and prominent Obama supporter. Johnson runs a nonprofit education group.