Rep. Darrell Issa suffered a crushing defeat in his crusade to bring down President Obama when investigators concluded that top Obama aide David Simas did not violate the law by using taxpayer dollars for political activities.
Bloomberg reported, “A special investigator’s office says it has found no evidence that David Simas, a top political aide to the president, violated a law that prohibits federal workers from engaging in partisan political activities. The White House Office of Political Outreach and Strategy “appears to be operating in a manner that is consistent with the Hatch Act,” said Carolyn Lerner, a lawyer at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose job is to enforce that law and protect whistle-blowers.”
A little thing like lack of evidence didn’t stop Issa and the Republicans on his committee who voted 19-14 to reject the White House claim of immunity for Simas.
The investigator’s findings are a death blow to Darrell Issa’s claim that two members of the president’s cabinet violated the Hatch Act by using taxpayer dollars for partisan political activities. Yesterday, Rep. Issa wrote a letter to the White House that claimed, “With the 2014 campaign season underway, there are already reports that raise questions as to whether, on Mr. Simas’s watch, the White House is using taxpayer dollars for political activities. For example, the President’s June 26-27 trip to Minnesota consisted of a previously scheduled Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser. Official activities were subsequently tacked onto the itinerary, ensuring that the President’s travel to the fundraiser was, at least partially, undertaken at taxpayer expense. Two weeks ago, the President traveled to Colorado on a fundraising trip in support of a Democratic Senator reportedly facing a close reelection race. The White House added an official event, and again, the taxpayers picked up part of the tab. Mr. Simas can answer, among other things, how OPSO ensures that events such as these and others are Hatch Act-compliant.”
The great irony is that Issa is accusing Obama of doing what George W. Bush did as president. In 2004, CNN reported, “On June 16, 2004, CNN reported, “President Bush is using Air Force One for re-election travel more heavily than any predecessor, wringing maximum political mileage from a perk of office paid for by taxpayers. While John Kerry digs into his campaign bank account to charter a plane to roam the country, Bush often travels at no cost to his campaign simply by declaring a trip ‘official’ travel rather than ‘political.’ Even when the White House deems a trip as political, the cost to Bush’s campaign is minimal. In such instances, the campaign must only pay the government the equivalent of a comparable first-class fare for passengers. It’s a minuscule sum, compared to the $56,800-per-hour it costs to run Air Force One.”
It was fine when George W. Bush used Air Force One to attend fundraisers in 2004. It was equally okay when Ronald Reagan did the same thing in 1984, but it was a crime when Democratic President Barack Obama did it in 2014. Issa’s accusations are typical of the Obama rules that Republicans have devised that only apply to this president.
The Obama administration refused to make Simas available to testify because Issa had no evidence of wrongdoing. The result of their refusal to take part in Issa latest show hearing was that the California Republican was left practically begging the White House to let Simas testify.
Now that an independent investigation has revealed that there is Simas did nothing wrong, Issa’s latest attempt to whip up a new Obama scandal has been crushed. This news couldn’t have come at a worst time for Rep. Issa as his star has sunk to a new low. Ever since Speaker Boehner took the Benghazi investigation away from him, Issa has been desperately trying to gin up a new scandal to get himself back in the spotlight.
Darrell Issa’s political fame is based on his abuse of his investigative powers as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Just like Sen. Joe McCarthy, Issa has gone too far and he is in the process of fading away.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a 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