There haven’t been too many cases in which the Obama administration’s inexperience has caused it troubles, but the case of the Americorps inspector general is one of them.
IG’s serve at the pleasure of the president — dismissing one at the beginning of a new term shouldn’t be a big deal. But if you’re going to fire a guy who has been critical of a political ally, namely Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson, you’d think you’d do it by the book with ample documentation and, you know, otherwise obeying the law.
But as even Obama’s closest Senate ally, Claire McCaskill has said, the firing violated the law because Obama didn’t give congress, to whom the IGs also report, 30 days notice.
“The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service,” McCaskill said. “The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal. â€˜Loss of confidence’ is not a sufficient reason.”
The reasoning the administration has since produced reads like so much ex-post-facto baloney.
I don’t expect this will mushroom into anything much larger, but it’s a troubling sign for proponents of open and transparent government. The real proof will be in who is tapped as the replacement IG. Will he be a watchdog, or in the Bush style, just another lap dog.