5:05 PM, Jul 28, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Despite little national coverage, scandals surrounding former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson have been intensifying over past few months. Monday's report at Deadspin is a good place to start -- things have gotten so bad that Johnson's allies are accusing a local paper that's done a lot of damning reporting on Johnson of racism.
As Deadspin notes, there's "a variety of sexual, financial, and ethical improprieties" swirling around Johnson. Among other things, the mayor is suing -- and being sued -- by the National Conference of Black Mayors. And Johnson is also accused of using public money and resources for his own personal benefit involving work done for the National Basketball Players Association.
That last scandal is particulary interesting, because it mirrors accusations made against him in 2009, when he was accused of misusing federal grants meant for the Americorps program by Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service:
The most significant issue appeared to be Mr. Walpin’s actions in connection with St. Hope Academy of California, which was run by Mr. Johnson and Dana Gonzalez. St. Hope Academy received federal money from 2004 to 2007 from AmeriCorps. Mr. Walpin said a large amount of the money was spent improperly, some of it on personal expenses.
Mr. Walpin made a referral to the United States prosecutor in Sacramento, recommending that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gonzalez face criminal charges and be banned from future contracts.
According to Walpin, the chairman of the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Alan Solomont, was a major Democratic fundraiser and was unhappy with his reports pointing out the misuse of federal money. Johnson was also said to be close to the Obamas, and shortly afterward the president abruptly fired Walpin from his job. The firing set off a flurry of inquiries from a bipartisan group of senators concerned that Walpin's firing had been been politically motivated. There were also allegations that the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Lawrence Brown, filed an ethics complaint against Walpin to help lift a ban on Johnson receiving federal funds as well as curry favor with the White House. Brown was seeking a presidential appointment to become United States attorney for the Eastern District of California.
Now Johnson remains mired in scandal six years later and is being accused of allegations of corruption very similar to what was first alleged by Walpin. And in the intervening years, the Obama administration has acquired quite the reputation for selectively enforcing laws against compromised allies and for the vigorous prosecution of political enemies on dubious grounds. Johnson's current troubles certainly suggest that the president was wrong to fire Walpin, and are an unpleasant reminder of the Chicago-style politics that have come to define this administration's questionable uses of political power.
3:55 PM, Jul 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama did a rare thing today at the White House: he admitted to a shortcoming.
"That’s one thing I can’t do is rap," Obama told a group of a 130 students. "I like rap, but I can’t rap. I got enough of a rap that I got Michelle to marry me."
The remarks were part of an event called "Beating the Odds," which was hosted today by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Via the pool report:
8:27 PM, Jun 24, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking at an LGBT event tonight at the White House, President Obama took credit for liberal LGBT progress since he took office six-and-a-half years ago.
2:00 PM, Jun 24, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama called French president Francois Hollande to tell him he's not listening to his calls.
9:00 AM, Jun 23, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
According to National Security Council (NSC) chief of staff Suzy George, the NSC is "downsizing," but not "for its own sake." George calls it "right-sizing," a way for the White House to "align our staffing with our strategic priorities."
'Act as an anchor to stimulate a national dialogue on climate change and public health'5:13 PM, Jun 22, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House will host a "Summit on Climate Change and Health" tomorrow, according to a press release. The event is supposed to "stimulate a national dialogue on climate change and public health," the White House says.
9:09 PM, Jun 20, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama's week ahead includes an Iftar dinner and an LGBT reception. Via the White House schedule:
9:15 PM, Jun 17, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
At this evening's congressional picnic at the White House, President Obama had a warning: "I want to warn in advance, I can’t do a selfie with everybody."
But, someone in the crowd wanted to know, "How about a kiss?"
“A kiss, I can give you,” Obama said.
7:29 PM, Jun 17, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama met with Senate and House Democrats to push trade, the White House announced this evening.
"The President met separately with a group of Senate Democrats and House Democrats who supported trade legislation at the White House," the White House says of the meeting.
8:01 PM, Jun 9, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
A UN panel says that the White House and other Western governments have neglected to report Iranian violations of the sanctions regime.
7:05 PM, Jun 9, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Joe Biden will be returning to work tomorrow. It'll be his first day back at his job since the passing of his son, Beau Biden, on May 30. Biden has spent most of that time at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he'll be returning after work tomorrow.
"In the morning, the Vice President will attend meetings at the White House," reads the vice president's official White House schedule for tomorrow.
"In the afternoon, the President and the Vice President will meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
8:37 AM, Jun 5, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The door continues to revolve between the White House and MSNBC. Rachel Racusen, who worked at the White House before going to MSNBC, is coming back to work for the president again.
Mike Allen reports:
7:29 AM, Jun 4, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Obama administration has not been shy about partnering with religious leaders on issues such as poverty, HIV/AIDS prevention, Obamacare, and even climate change.