Remember the brouhaha a couple of years ago about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys? The attorneys had been put in place by the Bush Administration and eight of them were subsequently fired in December, 2006.
The “scandal” was really much ado about less than nothing. The attorneys served at the pleasure of the President, and he had every right to fire them for any reason whatsoever. If he didn’t like their shoes he was within his rights to dismiss them. President Clinton had fired over 80 attorneys and replaced them with his political appointments. That was his right to do so and his reason was that he hadn’t appointed them and he didn’t want his predecessor’s choices in his Administration. All perfectly legal, all perfectly within his purview as President.
Now Barack Obama has entered the fray by firing an Inspector General. From the Associated Press:
Obama’s move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.
Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, a nonprofit group that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.
The IG’s report, detailing a lot of waste and fraud, is here.
Is Obama within his rights to do this? Yes.
What I find remarkable though is the difference between how Bush was treated for the firing of the attorneys and the current treatment of Obama. Bush was pilloried for dismissing the attorneys. The Attorney General of the Justice Department, Alberto Gonzales, resigned because of the screams from the Left about impropriety. There were investigations, movements to impeach the Attorney General, subpoenas issued to anyone with a pulse in the White House and Attorney General’s office. The new Congressional majority in 2007 was unleashed like a rabid dog looking for anyone or anything to sink its teeth into.
There was no scandal. Bush was within his rights…he hired them, he could fire them. Anyone in any Presidential administration works at the pleasure of the President and can be fired at any time for any reason. But Bush’s refusal to stand up to Congress and tell them to cut the crap, combined with Gonzales’s ineffectual mumblings and lapses of memory in his testimony before Congress, aided and abetted by a media that was salivating for a scandal, led to the perception that a genuine wrong had been done here.
It hadn’t. The investigations that the fired attorneys were working on all continued under the leadership of new attorneys and no corruption was covered up.
So yes, Obama is within his rights to do this, but frankly the odor coming off this is a little wretched. Obama’s love of Americans doing “service” and both his and Michelle’s disdain for greedy capitalists of all types makes them far more likely to take a dim view of a harsh critical appraisal of a “service” organization like AmeriCorp that is rife with waste and squandered taxpayer dollars. For an Inspector General to announce that Emperor AmeriCorp is as naked as a jaybird is to put his career on the chopping block.
My only question now is why the Left and their media lapdogs aren’t calling for investigations into Obama’s firing of the Inspector General? It couldn’t possibly be a double standard.
Michelle Malkin’s on the case. As usual.