What’s Up With Americorps?

In today’s Examiner investigative reporter Byron York reviews what’s known and what isn’t about the circumstances surrounding the firing of the Inspector General charged with overseeing Americorps, the mismanaged agency that is one of President Obama’s favorite programs. No one’s talking  but the heat’s on. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ranking Republicans on the Senate Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees, are asking questions and demanding hearings into the affair that concerns an $850,000 Americorps grant allegedly misused by its recipient, Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento and an Obama friend. IG Gerald Walpin was fired when he objected to Justice Department actions that let Johnson off the hook.

It seems unlikely that the Committees of Congress will respond to Republican demands for an investigation of the Justice Department, which agreed to let Mayor Johnson receive federal stimulus money, overruling the IG, who suspended him from receiving any new federal grants. Still, the Democrats in Congress are not as fond of Americorps as the President. The House Appropriations Committee cut $90 million out the the President’s request for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which oversees Americorps, and $41 million from his request for the Americorps state and national grants program, notes Rick Cohen, whose diligent review of the Committee’s treatment of grants to social service nonprofits must have permanently glazed over his eyes. Cohen deconstructs the bureaucratic language in the Committee’s report on CNCS mismanagement and pronounces it “devastating” and a “a very clear vote of no-confidence.”

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