The Obama administration has told Vista volunteers and other AmeriCorps workers that their government-provided health coverage does not measure up to the standards of the new health care law, and that they may be subject to financial penalties unless they obtain insurance elsewhere.
The notice has surprised and worried workers in AmeriCorps, the federal community service program that is often described as a domestic version of the Peace Corps.
It’s almost as if the Obama administration is run by blithering nincompoops who are almost as dangerous to the well-being of their political allies and fellow-travelers as they are to their political opponents. But that’s just crazytalk, right?
Background information available here: the executive summary is that the Inspector General of Americorps was fired earlier this year, under circumstances that appear at best to be part of a whitewash of an administration crony. Senator Grassley (R) of Iowa has taken an interest in the case, and is making it clear that he’s not going away:
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has blocked the ambassadorial nomination of Alan Solomont, currently chairman of the board of the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, in retaliation for what Grassley says is the administration’s stonewalling of Congress over documents relating to the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin. Specifically, Grassley has sought, and been denied, information relating to the White House’s role in the decision to fire Walpin.
Solomont, a major Democratic donor, is chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps. His term ends in October, and President Obama has nominated him to be U.S. ambassador to Spain. The nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week and now moves to the Senate floor — except that Grassley has placed a hold on it, meaning it will go nowhere until the senator’s objections are resolved.
You may remember Gerald Walpin. He was fired from his position as AmeriCorps Inspector General a few months ago for either: pushing an investigation against one of the President’s cronies; no particular reason; or diminished mental capacity. These three possible answers are, respectively: an assumption based on an acquaintance with objective (if cynical) reality; what the White House went with before Senator Grassley reminded them of the law; and what the White House went with after Senator Grassley reminded them of the law. Well, Mr. Walpin didn’t particularly care for the last answer, and he’s decided to get satisfaction:
Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who was summarily fired in June amid controversy over his investigation of a politically-connected supporter of President Obama, has filed suit alleging that the firing was “unlawful,” “politically driven,” “procedurally defective” and “a transparent and clumsily-conducted effort to circumvent the protections” given to inspectors general under the Inspectors General Reform Act of 2008.
Walpin’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is against the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. Also named are Nicola Goren, the acting CEO of the Corporation, Frank Trinity, its general counsel, and Raymond Limon, the Corporation’s “chief human capital officer.” The suit asks the court to declare Walpin’s firing unlawful and restore him to his position as the Corporation’s inspector general.
Via The Rhetorician. Note that Walpin isn’t suing for damages, merely reinstatement and an admission that the firing was improper in the first place. Whether or not he gets either will depend in large part whether the administration can outwait him; as Ed Morrissey points out, Walpin is 77 years old. On the other hand, this is hardly the only IG controversy going on, and right now the White House doesn’t need any more negative scrutiny than what it’s already getting…