Saturday, October 20, 2012

#MOSen: Claire McCaskill: One-time Champion of the Whistle-blower

There was a time--captured in the video above--when Claire McCaskill fought for the protection of whistle-blowers. But that time has passed.

Remember Inspector General Gerald Walpin? Walpin found irregularities at a non-profit run by Obama supporter, Kevin Johnson, and was ultimately let go for blowing the whistle as the Wall Street Journal reported:
...this case appears to be one in which an IG was fired because he criticized a favorite Congressional and executive project (AmeriCorps), and refused to bend to political pressure to let the Sacramento mayor have his stimulus dollars. 
There's also the question of how Mr. Walpin was terminated. He says the phone call came from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, who said the President felt it was time for Mr. Walpin to "move on," and that it was "pure coincidence" he was asked to leave during the St. HOPE controversy. Yet the Administration has already had to walk back that claim. 
That's because last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an inspector general. A co-sponsor of that bill was none other than Senator Obama. Having failed to pressure Mr. Walpin into resigning (which in itself might violate the law), the Administration was forced to say he'd be terminated in 30 days, and to tell Congress its reasons.
Ah... The Inspectors General Reform Act of 2008, that takes me back to those halcyon days of McCaskill's support for whistle-blowers--support codified in the annuals of the Senate where she is listed, not as a co-sponsor, but rather as the sponsor of that august bit of legislation. And, to show her independence from an over-reaching executive drunk on power, McCaskill came to the defense of Gerald Walpin, right?

Well, no. She dutifully lifted the rug so the Obama administration could sweep the remains of the Walpin saga under it. As 24thState commented at the time:
It's her law that was violated. If she can't defend her own law against an overzealous Obama administration, then one wonders why she bothered to write it in the first place.
Friday, the Daily Caller ran the headline: McCaskill won’t acknowledge husband’s former employee as ‘whistle-blower,’ also won’t define term. Since she's struggling to define the term, perhaps she should watch the video above to restore her memory.

With the businesses of McCaskill's husband, Joseph Shepard, under scrutiny because of $39 million in stimulus funds that they received, hundreds of millions in tax credits, and recent allegations that Shepard closed some of his business deals in the Senate Dining Room, we see the spectacle of Claire McCaskill going a second round with her own petard--that discarded principal of defending the whistle-blower. Friday, she defended her husband by attacking the Craig Woods, the man who alleged that Shepard closed some business deals in the Senate Dining Room:
“Craig Woods is not a whistleblower,” McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said in an email to TheDC on Friday. “He is a convicted felon who has lied repeatedly about his employment history just like he’s doing now.”
Commenting on the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits that businesses associated with Shepard have received, Patrick Tuohey of the Missouri Record observed:
Developers are offered sweet deals to build projects and permitted to shuffle the tax benefits through complex transactions. In this case, one prime beneficiary appears to be the spouse of a sitting US Senator. One can reasonably argue that relationship helps him line his own pockets.
The allegations of Craig Woods support that conclusion. Assuming there's a guest registry for the Senate Dining Room, one wonders what names appear next to Joseph Shepard's.

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