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Obama fires whistleblower

Ousted AmeriCorps watchdog defends waste probe

WASHINGTON – An inspector general fired by President Barack Obama said Friday he acted “with the highest integrity” in investigating AmeriCorps and other government-funded national service programs. Gerald Walpin said in an interview with The Associated Press that he reported facts and conclusions “in an honest and full way” while serving as inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Obama said he had lost confidence in Walpin and was removing him from the position.

Walpin defended his work on Friday. “I know that I and my office acted with the highest integrity as an independent inspector general should act,” he said.

Obama’s move follows an investigation by Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star. Johnson and a nonprofit education academy he founded ultimately agree to repay half of $847,000 in grants it had received from AmeriCorps.

Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled the investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy.

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