The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Second Inspector General in Two Weeks Fired by Obama; Was Examining Treasury Irregularities
Much more on the outrageous Walpin firing here and here.
The firing of Gerald Walpin as Inspector General was not an isolated incident, as the Chicago Tribune reports today. Two more IGs have been dismissed in the past two weeks, and Senator Charles Grassley has started demanding answers. The sudden push to rid the government of independent watchdogs appears to coincide with Barack Obama’s plans to use government spending to get control over more aspects of American life, such as with stimulus spending, the financial sector, and volunteer organizations (via Dan Riehl):
He was appointed with fanfare as the public watchdog over the government’s multi-billion dollar bailout of the nation’s financial system. But now Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.
The disagreement stems from a claim by the Treasury Department that Barofsky is not entirely independent of the agency he is assigned to examine — a claim that has prompted a stern letter from a Republican senator warning that agency officials are encroaching on the integrity of an office created to protect taxpayers. …
The dispute comes as Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is looking into the abrupt firings within the last week of two other inspectors general ¿ one of whom was fired by the White House and the other by the chair of the International Trade Commission.
Both inspectors general had investigated sensitive subjects at the time of their firings.
Grassley is now concerned about whether a pattern is emerging in which the independence of the government’s top watchdogs — whose jobs were authorized by Congress to look out for waste, fraud and abuse — is being put at risk.
The positions themselves indicate where the White House wants to go with its efforts. Barofsky ruffled feathers in April when his watchdog report showed that the Obama administration had placed insufficient safeguards on Porkulus spending. This later caused Joe Biden to shrug and tell the media, “Some people are being scammed already,” as if it wasn’t the job of the administration to stop it from happening. Barofsky now has a leash around his neck, with the White House insisting that he answers only to Treasury.