Examiner Editorial: Examiner’s York gets goods on Americorps

On Friday, The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent, Byron York, had another stunning report on the scandal involving the firing of Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. Earlier this year, Walpin was fired in what appears to be a politically motivated attempt by Democrats to silence his investigation into allegations of misuse of $800,000 in federal funds by Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson. The funds were provided by the federal Americorps program to St. Hope, a non-profit school that Johnson then headed.

York’s latest blockbuster is his reporting of a congressional report prepared by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. While probing the misuse of funds allegations, congressional investigators were told that Johnson made improper advances toward three young women at St. Hope. The report also alleges that Michelle Rhee, D.C.’s nationally-celebrated chancellor of schools and now Johnson’s fiancee, acted as a fixer for her future husband when she was on the St. Hope board of directors. Rhee allegedly reassured St. Hope employees that she would investigate Johnson’s inappropriate conduct. Shortly afterward, Johnson’s personal attorney visited the one of the young women making the accusations. At about the same time, investigators were told, Johnson offered one of the women $1,000 a month to keep quiet.

Walpin was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The Obama administration still defends the decision to fire Walpin, but a growing body of evidence suggests the president’s aides feared  Walpin would expose corruption of two rising stars in the Democratic party.

York has doggedly and fairly covered this story from the beginning. Too bad reporters at other mainstream media outlets didn’t do the same. To the extent the Walpin story has gotten any attention, the coverage has been appallingly slanted. The latest Los Angeles Times headline, for example, reads, “Republicans criticize dismissal of Americorps watchdog.” The facts, which are inconvenient things and belong to no political party, show clearly that Walpin was digging into Democratic malfeasance.

York was also out front breaking stories on Van Jones, the former communist and 9/11 truther, appointed by Obama’s as his “green jobs czar.” At one point, York noted that nothing had been reported or broadcast about Jones’ radical views by the Washington Post, New York Times, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News or CBS Evening News until he was forced to resign from the White House. With York’s latest scoop on the Walpin story, readers can be sure The Examiner will cover the important stories and cover them fairly – even when the biggest names in journalism will not.

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