Even Political Foes Cheer on Fired AmeriCorps Inspector General Walpin

Showstopper crowd of big shots, including Bill Clinton's former lawyer, goes to bat for Gerald Walpin.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Gerald Walpin, the former AmeriCorps inspector general who was fired after appearing confused at a meeting, has some pretty important friends coming to his defense. Some 145 of them, including political foes, have written Congress and the White House to refute attacks on his integrity in the controversy over why he was fired by the Obama administration.

"We have never seen Mr. Walpin to be 'confused, disoriented, [or] unable to answer questions,' " wrote the 145, who include former federal judges and even Democrats like Bernie Nussbaum, former President Clinton's first White House counsel.

Walpin was a Bush pick who, allies say, ran into trouble with the administration when he criticized an Obama pal. The 77-year-old was dismissed after appearing confused at a recent meeting, the administration said. A White House letter to lawmakers also alleged that Walpin had "engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct."

His firing came after he announced that he wasn't finished with a probe into alleged misuse of federal grants to a school founded by Kevin Johnson, an Obama supporter, mayor of Sacramento, Calif., and former NBA star.

In their letter, the 145 say that the administration's description of Walpin is way out of character. "All of us are unanimous in affirming Mr. Walpin's integrity and competence," they wrote.

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