Obama and the firing of Gerald Walpin

Is this the beginning of the Obama administration's first scandal?

"The days when 'whistle-blowers' were popular on the left are gone, I guess," said John Hinderaker in Power Line. Otherwise, left-wingers wouldn't be trying to justify President Obama's firing of former Inspector General Gerald Walpin. The president's apologists insist it's just conservative conspiracy-mongering to suggest there was anything wrong with getting rid of a public servant "whose only offense was to investigate an Obama crony."

"Conservatives are starting to smell blood" on this story, said Zachary Roth in Talking Points Memo, and Gerald Walpin "certainly doesn't seem inclined to go softly into that good night." He's on a tour of conservative media outlets trying to drum up support for a congressional inquiry into his dismissal. The story is complicated, but one thing's for sure—it "isn't going away any time soon."

Nor should it, said Bill Wilson in The Washington Times. Gerald Walpin "was the lead federal investigator into financial abuses committed by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson—a major Obama backer caught misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money." This kind of political retribution shows that despite Obama's promise of change, "many of his actions are nothing more than glorified political thuggery."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

There's just not enough to this "mini-scandal" to make it a big deal, said Benjamin Sarlin in The Daily Beast. Gerald Walpin asserted that Kevin Johnson had misused Americorps funds and defrauded the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars before being elected Sacramento mayor. But a U.S. attorney, appointed by George W. Bush, "decided no criminal charges were justified." The White House screwed up by failing to notify Congress 30 days before the firing, but that's not enough to turn this into the "crony scandal" conservatives say it is.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.