Wednesday, July 8, 2009

IG-Gate Update

Fox News obtains notes from a meeting that led to the firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin:
The informal meeting notes, taken by CNCS Counsel Frank Trinity, said that board members were indeed concerned about Walpin's "behavior." . . .
But the account also shows that Chairman Alan Solomont stated concern about Walpin's accusations against the board and not his mental health as the apparent cause for the dispute that led to Walpin's termination. . . .
A congressional investigator who participated in a three-hour meeting with Trinity on Monday told that it was clear the board sought Walpin's ouster because of hurt feelings and professional friction, even though inspectors general are supposed to be free to challenge staff at their respective agencies. The investigator, who requested anonymity, argued the White House did not thoroughly review the matter.
"It was the disagreements between the IG and the senior management at the agency that provoked the board to remove Walpin," the investigator said. "The senior people at the agency chafed under Walpin's oversight. ... They communicated this to the board, which rubber-stamped senior management. [The board] took it to the White House, which rubber-stamped the board."
Hmmm. Is Fox's source also my source? Then why . . . Never mind. As long as it advances the story, I'm not particularly concerned with who gets what. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are working to muzzle federal watchdogs in the financial sector:
Inspectors general at five financial regulatory agencies are objecting to legislation that would elevate their positions to the presidential-appointment level, arguing that the move would compromise their ability to conduct independent investigations.
The bill would elevate the five officials at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Lots of graft opportunities in those agencies, y'see. Don't need independent watchdogs snooping around while the Chicago Way is put into operation on Wall Street. And here's some news on the "SIGTARP" story I overlooked last week:
Congress did not legislate transparency for its own members' manipulation of the bailout fund, known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. . . .
[T]he Treasury Department steered $135 million in TARP money to a bank in Hawaii after Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's staff contacted bank regulators on its behalf. Mr. Inouye, a Democrat, is Hawaii's senior senator. Nothing unusual so far: Members of Congress have been lobbying for home-state banks almost since TARP started -- so much so that congressional influence is the subject of a TARP inspector general report due out this summer. In one prominent case, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) arranged a meeting between regulators and OneUnited of Massachusetts, a bank in which her husband held shares. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) later wrote language into the bailout bill that effectively directed the Treasury to give special consideration to OneUnited, and he followed up with a call to Treasury. The bank got $12 million. (Emphasis added.)
That forthcoming report from "SIGTARP" -- special inspector general Neil Barofsky -- should be lots of fun.

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