Gerald Walpin, the former inspector general of the department overseeing AmeriCorps, lost an appeal in his lawsuit claiming that he was wrongfully fired by the Obama administration in June 2009.
A federal appeals court ruled against Walpin yesterday, writing in the panel’s unanimous decision that Walpin does not have a “clear and indisputable right” to his old job.
Walpin’s accusations of wrongdoing by the Obama administration quickly became a cause on the right. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who’s about to become chair of the House Oversight Committee, opened an official Congressional inquiry into the firing with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Their report, however, didn’t find any evidence of actual wrongdoing.
Walpin and his supporters on the right argued that the White House broke a law that required it to give 30 days’ notice before firing an IG. They claimed the dismissal was politically motivated retribution after Walpin went after an Obama ally, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, for allegedly misusing AmeriCorps funds when he was in charge of a California school.
The administration, however, defended the decision, citing, among other things, a meeting in which Walpin appeared confused and couldn’t answer questions. And an AmeriCorps board member told TPM the bipartisan board had unanimously voted to send the matter of Walpin’s competence to the White House.
Walpin told the Washington Post that he likely won’t appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
“I didn’t need this lawsuit or the job, but I thought it was a good public service and a way to contribute to this wonderful country,” Walpin said. He said he was disappointed “not for myself but for the institution of inspectors general.” The ruling, he said, “has effectively removed any meaning” from inspector general reform laws.