Obama Inspector General nominee goes under the bus

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Never let a crisis go to waste; The White House has quietly ejected its candidate for the long-vacant Inspector General slot at the Corporation for National and Community Service, some 21 months after the incumbent was suddenly fired.

Incumbent IG Gerald Walpin was fired under unusual circumstances, and promptly sued to get his job back. He lost his final appeal in January, but his cause had been taken up by California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee, and other Republicans. Critics argued that Walpin was fired in retaliation for investigating a Democrat with close personal ties to President Barack Obama.

That Democrat is Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and Walpin was concerned that he had misused an Americorps grant worth $847,673 that had been awarded to Johnson’s community group, St. Hope. In November 2008, Johnson was elected Mayor of Sacramento, California.

Walpin was to be replaced by Jonathan Andrew Hatfield, a deputy IG at the politically-gridlocked Federal Election Commission. His nomination was announced Feb. 16 last year, and was formally abandoned in a notice sent to the Senate on April 8 at 7:43 p.m., in the midst of the high-stakes budget showdown.

The White House notice said that Hatfield’s nomination had been formally sent to the Senate only 10 weeks ago, on January 26, 2011.

Hatfield is a Radford University graduate and has worked at the FEC since 1996.