Friday, June 19, 2009

Schwarzenegger Involvement: Kevin Johnson Investigation by Gerald Walpin

An important question lingered. Who at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) asked Inspector Gerald Walpin to investigate Kevin Johnson and St. HOPE in the first place? - and why? And why hasn't this question been investigated? Maybe because there is a need to make it appear that Walpin was on a witch hunt, but the request came from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He asked the "federal government" to investigate Johnson. Did the "federal government" mean a U.S. Attorney, or the federal agency, CNCS, the corporation that administers AmeriCorps? Whichever, AmeriCorps then turned the Kevin Johnson investigation over to Gerald Walpin. See update 11-10-09 below.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

What was known even before Gerald Walpin became involved? Here's the answer: (The Sacramento Union, dated May 1, 2008):
A Sacramento-based nonprofit run by former NBA star and Sacramento mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson is facing scrutiny after a teenager complained of inappropriate touching by Johnson.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office asked the federal government to investigate because the nonprofit, St. HOPE, has received money in the past from the federal AmeriCorps program.
The governor’s California Volunteers office administers AmeriCorps money coming to the state and is required to report such allegations.
Marta Bortner, a spokeswoman for the state volunteer office, says the request was made to the AmeriCorps inspector general last week. It was triggered by a report filed a year ago with Sacramento County Child Protective Services.
So Walpin investigated at the request of AmeriCorps via Schwarzenegger, and the investigation began with a sexual abuse allegation into Johnson, who founded St. HOPE Academy, an AmeriCorp recipient.

As the investigation progressed and unearthed misuse of federal monies, AmeriCorp and CNCS didn't like the results. Perhaps a President Barack Obama was only a distant possibility in the Spring of 2008.

Who knew what was coming? Who knew that soon-to-be president, Barack Obama, planned a "civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as our military.

Who knew that Michelle Obama would be instrumental in who CNCS brought on staff? Who knew that Barack Obama planned to make AmeriCorps a "cause" of his presidency.

Let's get it straight about who employed Gerald Walpin during the time of his investigations. He worked for a the CNCS which is a federal agency. Congress has established rules to protect the sanctity of all Inspector Generals to protect them from political motivation. Here is how Walpin explained his position to another CNCS division, Learn and Serve America grantees, October 23, 2008.
Finally, you should know that there are Inspectors General working at every Federal agency under a system established by Congress in 1978 under the Inspector General Act. I’m a presidential appointee and I was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. I serve at the pleasure of President Bush. Only the president, not the head of the agency my office oversees, can remove me from office. And even the President’s power to remove me is subject to the transparency requirement that he must explain to Congress his reason for doing so. This system guarantees my independence.
In 2007 when Walpin was confirmed by the Senate to the Inspector General position, David Eisner, a former AOL executive, was the CNCS CEO. CNCS, with a big red tab "About AmeriCorps" on it's homepage, announced Walpin's confirmation and extolled his accomplishments:
For over 40 years, Walpin was a partner with the New York City law firm Katten Muchin and Rosenman LLP, chairing the firm’s litigation department, and is now Counsel to that firm. His practice included the determination of the existence of fraud within corporations, and recoveries resulting from such fraud. Before his private practice, he was law secretary to two Federal District Court Judges, served in the United States Air Force J.A.G., and was the Chief of Special Prosecutions for the United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
He also served as President of the Federal Bar Council, the bar association of attorneys practicing in the Second Circuit Federal Courts, from 2002 to 2004. He received a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and graduated cum laude from Yale Law School.
The numerous recognitions of Walpin’s legal expertise include the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award, which was presented by Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer and Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Walker during the 2003 Second Circuit Judicial Conference for outstanding professionalism as an attorney and mentoring of young lawyers. He is a frequent lecturer and writer on legal topics.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, he has received numerous awards for his charitable and philanthropic activities.
The CNCS administers many organizations, including AmeriCorps, which is actually a "division" of CNCS. In this case, AmeriCorps is definitely a part of the story of Gerald Walpin, and Kevin Johnson is central to why the investigation began in the first place, and I think, why Walpin was fired.

The Obama administration is in the midst of discrediting former Inspector General Gerald Walpin in a particularly egregious manner, with the attempt to show him as senile or some version of senile, although they have not used those words.

The claim is he was "confused and disoriented" during a May 20th CNCS board meeting. Walpin said the Board called for a break in the middle of his testimony. He left the room and when he returned, his report had become "disorganized," intimating, I think, that someone jumbled or shuffled his report.

As you read through the squeals from the White House and the charge from acting U.S. Attorney Brown saying Walpin handled his reports incorrectly, especially when he "recommended" that Kevin Johnson no longer be able to get his hands on federal funds, Gerald Walpin answered that charge in full, and remember that the CNCS was still Walpin's employer when his report was turned over the U.S. Attorney's office.

Update 11-10-09:
Announced today that Gerald Walpin has been cleared of charges that he overstepped his authority in his investigation of AmeriCorps and Kevin Johnson. Read the story here.

Background below on Walpin firing, and former NBA start and current Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson's illegal misuse of federal taxpayer money, as well as misuse of AmeriCorps volunteers:

 U.S. Attorney Larry Brown and CNCS Displeasure with Walpin's Investigation

Gerald Walpin Firing Update: AmeriCorp $75 Million Musused: Michelle Obama Hires?
Kevin Johnson - St. Hope Scandal: Rick Maya Resigns, Gerald Walpin Investigates
White House Charges Walpin Confused, Disoriented, Disruptive
Who is Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson - Walpin-Johnson Investigation

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton