Democratic congressional staffers investigating the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin asked tough questions of an agency lawyer who refused to discuss White House involvement in the case, a source familiar with the investigation tells the Spectator.
Byron York reported this morning in the Washington Examiner that Frank Trinity, general counsel for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) -- parent agency of the AmeriCorps government volunteer program -- "refused to answer questions from congressional investigators" Monday, when he was asked about the White House's role in last month's firing of Walpin.
Trinity told congressional staffers that he was "not authorized" to discuss White House involvement in the June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum to Walpin, the Spectator's source said. Democratic staffers were clearly annoyed by Trinity's non-response and questioned him about his reasons for not answering.
So far, the source said, interviews with "key board members" at CNCS contradict White House special counsel Norman Eisen's assertion that the June 10 firing followed an "extensive review" at the request of the CNCS board. Board members have told congressional investigators that "they weren't contacted [by the White House] until after the decision was made," the source said.
The 30-day window for congressional review of the IG's dismissal -- required under a law co-sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama -- is due to expire Friday. A spokeswoman for Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs, said there has not yet been a decision on whether to hold hearings on the AmeriCorp IG firing.