Chairman Issa: Oversight for whom?
By Rick Jacobs
February 24, 2011
In the weeks leading to Rep. Darrell Issa’s rise to chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, publications ranging from U.S. News to The San Diego Union-Tribune expressed concerns over whether he was willing to fulfill his new responsibilities devoid of the partisan politics and special interest agendas that had so frequently undermined the efforts of his predecessors.
Having spent the months before his ascent building his media profile alongside the likes of Glenn Beck, and hurling unsubstantiated allegations of corruption and “impeachable” offenses at President Barack Obama, these concerns could hardly have been considered unfounded.
And that was before an article in The New Yorker chronicled the colorful past for which Issa has largely denied responsibility – including his arrests on felony car theft and weapons charges, allegations of embellishing his military resume and reports that he was “under criminal suspicion” for a mysterious fire at one of his businesses.
Still, many Americans were willing to give Issa the benefit of the doubt, to give him a chance to reinvent himself and live up to the standards of transparency, impartiality and accountability to which he has pledged allegiance.
Unfortunately, it’s looking like America would have been better served to go with its gut on this one.
As his first action, the new chairman asked not his constituents, but more than 150 Washington lobbyists – collective contributors of more than $80,000 to Issa’s various campaigns for office – for their investigative and regulatory wish lists. Issa then refused to share the responses with the public. While he eventually caved to pressure from citizen watchdog groups, he posted the letters as a single, unsearchable PDF on his committee website, omitting several responses...
GOP is ready for Issa's "absolute right"
Chairmanship gives the Vista Republican leeway to set the agenda leading to 2012
By Matthew T. Hall
February 19, 2011
It’s power that could go to a person’s head.
It made Republican Rep. Dan Burton issue 1,200 subpoenas and once vainly fire a pistol at a pumpkin (or melon or cantaloupe, accounts vary) to prove a White House aide’s suicide was a homicide and thus discredit President Bill Clinton.
Later, it led Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman to snarl at a colleague arguing a procedural point: “I will have you physically removed from this meeting if you don’t stop.”
That colleague? Issa.
After 10 years in office, Issa has now risen to a place of unprecedented prominence among San Diego County’s Congressional delegation.
The Vista Republican is the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. By deciding which areas of government to investigate for waste, fraud and abuse, he will help spearhead GOP opposition to President Barack Obama and help choose what the nation talks about as the 2012 presidential election nears.
Even as websites like issawatch.com and issafiles.com spring up to second-guess (and aides say smear) him, Issa bristles at any notion he might misuse his position...