Rep. Darrell Issa has managed sabotage his new allegation that the administration is using taxpayer dollars for political purposes by admitting in 2011 that a similar investigation was nothing but political theater.
Rep. Issa (R-CA) wrote that he will be subpoenaing the head of the White House Office of Political Strategy, David Simas to appear in front of the House Oversight Committee because he is investigating whether or not the White House is using taxpayer dollars for political purposes, “In an effort to appease its political allies, the Obama Administration broadcast its intention to re-open a political office within the White House to assist in partisan election efforts and fundraising. This follows a serious pattern of behavior at the highest levels of the Administration. Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, both members of President Obama’s cabinet, were faulted by the Office of Special Counsel for inappropriately using their offices in violation of the Hatch Act. This hearing will examine abuses of taxpayer funds for political gain and the level of White House commitment to preventing them.”
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cumming (D-MD) shot back with a claim that this is all part of Issa’s temper tantrum that has been unfolding since Boehner took the Benghazi investigation away from him, “Over the past several weeks—ever since House Speaker John Boehner took the Benghazi investigation away from the Oversight Committee and transferred it to the new Select Committee—you have been engaged in a subpoena binge, issuing more unilateral subpoenas than at any point during your tenure, and all with no debate or votes by our Committee.”
Cummings continued, “Since you became Chairman in 2011, you have issued nearly 100 subpoenas—more than all three previous committee chairmen combined—in less than half the time. In the eight years from 2003 to 2010, former Republican and Democratic Chairmen Tom Davis, Henry A. Waxman, and Edolphus Towns issued a combined total of 78 subpoenas. With only rare exceptions, they issued all of their subpoenas with the concurrence of the Ranking Member or a vote of the Committee. In contrast, over the past three and a half years, you have issued 96 subpoenas without any debate or a vote of the Committee.”
The problem for Issa is that he tried something very similar to this stunt a few years ago. In 2011, Issa tried to investigate the Obama and the DNC for filming a video in the Map Room at the White House. Issa also told The Washington Times that his hearing was nothing but political theater, “It’ll be good theater. The Democrats will make the claim that somehow we were wrong. And we’ll remind them that this isn’t much different than what Waxman looked at. And then it will end. The sad truth is, the most we can do on our committee is the equivalent of a pitcher who gets tired of a batter crowding the plate. Our hearings can maybe brush him [the president] back a little.”
Fast forward to 2014, and Darrell Issa is stomping on the same old ground that got him nowhere three years ago. This is a typical pattern for Issa. He has bounced from fake scandal to fake scandal since he took over the chairmanship of the Oversight Committee. The California Republican keeps going to the same dry wells repeatedly in an attempt to find something to use to impeach President Obama.
Democrats are correct about Issa reckless unilateral use of his subpoena power. As Republicans accuse President Obama of unilateral action, they continue conveniently to ignore Darrell Issa’s taste for acting alone. Issa has managed to knock down his own house of cards, as his desperate attempts to find a scandal to bring down Obama continues to flounder.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association