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Legal aid board chairman denies discussions about firing inspector general

[JURIST] The chairman of the US Legal Services Corp. [official website] told a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing [recorded video; chairman's opening statement] Tuesday that the LSC board never discussed firing the inspector general now investigating allegations of fraud and waste [JURIST report; LSC press release; report] in the federally-funded program, whose mission is to provide legal services to the poor. Board chairman Frank Strickland [official profile] said that while the board discussed whether the board should implement a performance review of Inspector General Kirt West [official website], the board never talked about firing West, contradicting secret board meeting transcripts that were read at the hearing by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) [official website].

Cannon has proposed a Legal Services Corporation Improvement Act [HR 6101 PDF text] that would require 9 of the 11 LSC board members to agree on any measure to remove the inspector general, up from the current simple majority. The legal aid program, which provides legal services to the poor, reported in February that it turns away more than half of those eligible for its services due to a lack of financial resources [LSC press release]. It has claimed that several media reports about its staffers' spending practices are inaccurate [press release]. AP has more.

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