Gerald Walpin, the former Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service whom President Obama took the unusual step of firing last month, filed a lawsuit against the CNCS on Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
The suit seeks to force “to reinstate Mr. Walpin as the Inspector General and to declare unlawful and ineffective the efforts to date to terminate him from his office.” In addition, the suit seeks that Walpin be awarded “costs and legal fees associated with this action” as well as any “further relief as may be appropriate in this matter.”
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News that the Obama administration “complied fully with the Inspector General Reform Act. The bipartisan leadership of the Senate committee that oversees IG’s agrees. We strongly believe these claims are without merit and will be rejected by the courts.”
Earnest was referring to a June 19 letter from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., ranking GOPer Susan Collins, R-Me., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., saying that based on information the White House provided “we believe you have met the letter and spirit of the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 with respect to congressional notifications of removal or transfer.”
Walpin is expected to issue an official statement about the lawsuit on Monday.
The suit alleges that on or about June 10, Walpin “was unlawfully removed and transferred from his position as Inspector General precisely because he had performed his duties in an effective manner, supporting his career staff in their objective findings of wrongdoing, based on their audits and investigations, the truth of which those who sought to remove him did not want published.”
The suit takes particular issue with the White House assertion that at one board meeting Walpin “was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the Board to question his capacity to serve.”
The suit, filed by attorneys from Greenburg Traurig LLP, asserts that Walpin suffered and continues to suffer “very real reputational, vocation and economic injuries … from the obvious loss of his post and the associated income and health insurance, to having his mental faculties questioned with not-so-subtle, and completely unfounded, suggestions of senility.”
The lawsuit says that “(w)hile not the object of the instant pleading, it is plain that without the relief sought by this complaint the conduct at issue raises serious questions of age discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers and defamation.”
Walpin’s lawsuit says the action taken by President Obama not only harmed Walpin personally but also the integrity of the Inspector General system.
Strangely enough, Democrats in Congress have not used their power to call hearings over this issue. Imagine that.