'Did AmeriCorps official lie about possible First Lady link to IG firing?'

Rick Moran
That's the headline of a Byron York column in the Examiner that raises new questions about the firing of Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin.

Congressional investigators looking into the abrupt firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin have discovered that the head of AmeriCorps met with a top aide to First Lady Michelle Obama the day before Walpin was removed.

According to Republican investigators, Alan Solomont, then the chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, had denied meeting with Jackie Norris, at the time the First Lady's chief of staff. But recently-released White House visitor logs show that Solomont met with Norris on June 9 of this year (as well as on two earlier occasions). President Obama fired Walpin on June 10 after an intense dispute over Walpin's aggressive investigation of misuse of AmeriCorps money by Obama political ally Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California.

After being presented with the visitor logs, investigators say, Solomont explained that he met with Norris to discuss Corporation business but did not discuss the Walpin matter. When pressed, Solomont said he might have made an offhand comment, or a mention in passing, about the Walpin affair, but that he and Norris did not have a discussion about it.

Walpin had uncovered a slew of wrongdoing by Sacramento mayor and personal friend of Obama Kevin Johnson and was pressing for a criminal prosecution when he found himself illegally fired and then smeared by the White House.

Another interesting tidbit. Solomont was asked specifically back in July if he had talked to Norris and said no. Then the White House visitor logs were released and it showed him meeting with the Norris, who was then Michelle Obama's chief of staff. A re-interview of Solomont on December 8 brought some unusual behavior by the White House:

In a follow-up interview conducted December 8, Republican investigators asked Solomont why he had not previously disclosed his meetings with Norris.

According to a number of sources, White House staff who accompanied Solomont objected to the question, accusing investigators of trying to create a "gotcha" situation. "Cutting short the questioning on this issue indicated an unusually defensive posture on the part of White House staff, including a lawyer from the Counsel's office," wrote Issa in the letter to Solomont. At that point, according to Issa, Solomont insisted he had mentioned his meetings with Norris during that first interview with investigators on July 15. The Republicans were flabbergasted. "This is simply false," Issa wrote to Solomont. "The notes and recollections of multiple staff in the room at the time are clearly contrary to your recollection." Finally, Solomont told investigators that he had discussed Corporation business, but not the Walpin matter, with Norris.

Michelle Obama was going to make Americorps her baby and didn't want anyone who wasn't of rock solid loyalty to her husband involved. That would seem to be the implication of all this.

We haven't hit bottom yet on this scandal.




That's the headline of a Byron York column in the Examiner that raises new questions about the firing of Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin.

Congressional investigators looking into the abrupt firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin have discovered that the head of AmeriCorps met with a top aide to First Lady Michelle Obama the day before Walpin was removed.

According to Republican investigators, Alan Solomont, then the chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, had denied meeting with Jackie Norris, at the time the First Lady's chief of staff. But recently-released White House visitor logs show that Solomont met with Norris on June 9 of this year (as well as on two earlier occasions). President Obama fired Walpin on June 10 after an intense dispute over Walpin's aggressive investigation of misuse of AmeriCorps money by Obama political ally Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California.

After being presented with the visitor logs, investigators say, Solomont explained that he met with Norris to discuss Corporation business but did not discuss the Walpin matter. When pressed, Solomont said he might have made an offhand comment, or a mention in passing, about the Walpin affair, but that he and Norris did not have a discussion about it.

Walpin had uncovered a slew of wrongdoing by Sacramento mayor and personal friend of Obama Kevin Johnson and was pressing for a criminal prosecution when he found himself illegally fired and then smeared by the White House.

Another interesting tidbit. Solomont was asked specifically back in July if he had talked to Norris and said no. Then the White House visitor logs were released and it showed him meeting with the Norris, who was then Michelle Obama's chief of staff. A re-interview of Solomont on December 8 brought some unusual behavior by the White House:

In a follow-up interview conducted December 8, Republican investigators asked Solomont why he had not previously disclosed his meetings with Norris.

According to a number of sources, White House staff who accompanied Solomont objected to the question, accusing investigators of trying to create a "gotcha" situation. "Cutting short the questioning on this issue indicated an unusually defensive posture on the part of White House staff, including a lawyer from the Counsel's office," wrote Issa in the letter to Solomont. At that point, according to Issa, Solomont insisted he had mentioned his meetings with Norris during that first interview with investigators on July 15. The Republicans were flabbergasted. "This is simply false," Issa wrote to Solomont. "The notes and recollections of multiple staff in the room at the time are clearly contrary to your recollection." Finally, Solomont told investigators that he had discussed Corporation business, but not the Walpin matter, with Norris.

Michelle Obama was going to make Americorps her baby and didn't want anyone who wasn't of rock solid loyalty to her husband involved. That would seem to be the implication of all this.

We haven't hit bottom yet on this scandal.