Issa builds list of investigations

posted at 9:30 am on January 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats have seen Darrell Issa, the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as their worst nightmare. Issa has repeatedly pledged to use his committee to scour the Obama administration for corruption and incompetence, and Issa says he has his work cut out for him. His claim from almost two months ago that the current administration was the “most corrupt” he had ever seen got a lot of attention this week as Issa clarified that he meant in the way money got used within the bureaucracy — the “walking around money” Congress gave the executive branch:

Politico also reports that Issa has built a preliminary list of investigations that he will have Oversight conduct into White House actions over the past two years. None of them will surprise anyone, but the list seems perhaps a little more modest than Democrats may have feared:

According to an outline of the committee’s hearing topics obtained by POLITICO, the House Oversight and Government Reform is also planning to investigate how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown. …

Despite his bombastic reputation, Issa has tried to project a more subtle image in the days leading up to his takeover of the committee. He’s trying to project an image of being a stickler for government waste and not a partisan bomb thrower with an eye fixed on ruining the Obama administration. A look at the preliminary hearing schedule illustrates that Issa plans to stay away from hurling subpoenas at the White House.

Stimulus oversight isn’t among the early hearings, which may come as a surprise since Issa recently met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss stimulus spending. In one of his three Sunday show appearances this week, Issa even said Congress should share in the blame for what he considers the mismanagement of the stimulus.

Still, the Issa agenda will take aim at what he believes are missteps by the administration.

In investigating the impact of regulation on job creation, the committee plans to ask why the economy hasn’t “created the private sector jobs the president has promised,” and he’s calling in business leaders to explain “about the government regulations that are doing the most harm to job creation efforts.”

It looks as though Issa plans to start on issues where he can get bipartisan consensus for probes and work on building some momentum.  I’m a little surprised that Issa hasn’t included, even in that sense, a probe of the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin and the expanded use of “czars” by this administration.  The termination of the IG for his opposition to a deal cut with an Obama ally amounts to a rebuke of Congress, which supposedly gave IGs job security so that they would do their work without fear of retribution from the executive branch.  The “czars” also represent an end run in at least some cases around Congressional oversight.

If a bipartisan consensus cannot be generated to protect Congress’ constitutional privileges, then perhaps bipartisanship in this context is overrated, and Issa should consider expanding his definition of “corruption” a little wider.


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The “retreat from the Sestak issue” by Issa is because it looks personal, plus all the there that is there is probably already available, so continuing will be a fruitless exercise. Usually these sort of things play out in the press, where a sense of shame causes somebody to resign .. this administration has no shame .. at least on this issue. The only way to get their attention would be be if it cut into support for some other priority, but I doubt at this point point it would have much impact. And ultimately, it would have to go to the DOJ, who would only sit on there hands, even with a winning hand.

J_Crater on January 3, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Waste of time, this goes no where.

The [expletive deleted] GOP needs to focus one one thing; getting the federal budget under control. Cut spending, cut taxes, balance the budget.

Skandia Recluse on January 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Issa’s goal shoud be to crush the demorats, see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentation of their minority leaders.

Bishop on January 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

At least we know what the White House’s new favorite phrase will be soon–”executive privilege.”

RBMN on January 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

If a bipartisan consensus cannot be generated to protect Congress’ constitutional privileges, then perhaps bipartisanship in this context is overrated, and Issa should consider expanding his definition of “corruption” a little wider.

Well done, Ed. This is very discouraging.

petefrt on January 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I think Issa wants to start out his “reign” as Chairman of the House Oversight with as little controversey as possible so as to avoid any labels of “witch hunt,” and to appear as non-threatening. That would put him in a fantastic position come 2012 to turn the heat up on the administration and begin to REALLY scour the earth for Obama misdeeds without appearing like a first cousin to Ken Starr.

Indy82 on January 3, 2011 at 9:37 AM

the msm is loving this…they have their new target to bash this week….

cmsinaz on January 3, 2011 at 9:38 AM

He can talk the talk but it looks like he can’t walk the walk….

disappointing

cmsinaz on January 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

You have got to be kidding me….
…..Where is the investigation of Holder?????

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Issa will be making Olbermann’s Worst Person In The World list, guaranteed.

pilamaye on January 3, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Why give em any warning??? Just gives them more time to fire up the shredders.

BigWyo on January 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM

He’s on the right track . . . forget Sestak, there’s nothing to be gained.

rplat on January 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM

As much as I think the only thing that congress should contend with is jobs and the budget…this process has to begin to stop this administration.
Each of these investigations, are designed to open other doors as they are being looked at.
You can’t look at Freddie and Fannie, without also looking at who was involved. And when the “who” is looked at, they won’t stop at Freddie and Fannie…

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM

So, for the sake of “appearances” and, I suppose, avoiding boat-rocking, Issa is going to go after the small stuff (“…the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown”) while corruption at the level of Holder’s DoJ and the lies, power-grabs and other destructive actions by the Osama Obama regime go on unchecked.

Nice going, Crusader Rabbit.

MrScribbler on January 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Time will tell if the Repubs have actually grown a spine.

brtex on January 3, 2011 at 9:52 AM

You have got to be kidding me….
…..Where is the investigation of Holder?????

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

You don’t investigate Holder, you tie him later to the inaction, then investigate why their was no action.
You lay the legal groundwork first, like casting a net, then you haul in the net.
Holder will have to answer questions regarding his policies and his departments policies on what Issa will investigate, those answers from Holder will be the “investigation”.

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

the House Oversight and Government Reform is also planning to investigate how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown. …

..Looks to me like he is trying to create a better election atmosphere for Republicans by debunking the “it’s Bush’s fault” line of the economy collapse and put the democrats alliance with Fannie/Freddie right up front.Democrats held the purse strings since 06 and were a major reason for the economic collapse…not just an inheritor of it.

Witch hunt or not…. Obama’s severe corruption of the DOJ is blatantly obvious.Seems to me that when you expose this for what it is….democrats will be the one’s on the defensive and selling each other out.

The circumvention of Congress with the FCC,EPA,and the Czar’s has been nothing more than an abuse of power coming from the perpetually offended left that yelled “dictator Bush” for 8 years.

Looks like some relevant issues Issa is pursuing….but I still see a lot of barking with little biting.

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Nice going, Crusader Rabbit.

MrScribbler on January 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

To catch a big fish, you first need bait…showing up with blazing guns will turn the public off…but revealing, unraveling the deception and lies slowly to the public, will be much more effective.
When the ACORN tapes were revealed one by one, it was much more effective then just throwing them all out at once.
As they proceed, it will give the dems the opportunity to hang themselves as they try to cover up their mis-deeds.
This will be death by a thousand cuts…

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

“I’m a little surprised that Issa hasn’t included, even in that sense, a probe of the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin and the expanded use of “czars” by this administration.”

Read Gabe’s quick post on this, too, and it seems to me that what is on the list are items which allow for reports that ‘rage against the machine’ for political posturing purposes but ultimately result in no substantial action and what is missing are the investigations that might actually point to specific corruptions engaged in by specific individuals which would force the government to actually fire/prosecute someone.

Dusty on January 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM

You lay the legal groundwork first, like casting a net, then you haul in the net.
Holder will have to answer questions regarding his policies and his departments policies on what Issa will investigate, those answers from Holder will be the “investigation”.

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Great point but I don’t see how Issa ties Holder to this list:

to investigate how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown. …

It just seems to me a lot of the work has been done already on the Black Panther case and other corruption by Holder’s DOJ.It just needs a serious forum and Holder put front and center for his lack of transparency and refusing to allow people to testify.

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Issa even said Congress should share in the blame for what he considers the mismanagement of the stimulus.

ummmm, the democrats controlled both houses no?

cmsinaz on January 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM

the msm is up in arms, the gop is vowing to repeal health care and ensure the president is a one termer….the horror!

hello, mcfly?

cmsinaz on January 3, 2011 at 10:03 AM

what is missing are the investigations that might actually point to specific corruptions engaged in by specific individuals which would force the government to actually fire/prosecute someone.

Dusty on January 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Exactly.

It seems the route he is going does more for strengthening Republican election issues than actually calling someone to the floor and exposing their corruption.

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM

I’ll be listening far more carefully to what Issa directly says rather than what Politico says he says.

viking01 on January 3, 2011 at 10:06 AM

This will be death by a thousand cuts…

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Baloney. Issa’s “investigations” won’t even break the skin, much less inflict wounds on anyone but the American public.

I’m glad it makes so many of you happy to see Issa being a nibbling guppy instead of a man. Wouldn’t want to irritate those nice folks on the other side of the aisle, would we?

We can all take comfort that we didn’t “upset” anyone as the Mohammedan Mouthpiece’s regime continues its assault on the nation’s economic structure and Constitution.

MrScribbler on January 3, 2011 at 10:09 AM

You have got to be kidding me….
…..Where is the investigation of Holder?????

Baxter Greene on January 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Issa. Issa. Issa. Conservatives can’t trust him. I have heard a few reports he has become too cozy with WH. Suspect deal might have been made. OR, he could be playing WH. Uncertain, but word is he might prove all bark and no bite. If Issa does not use his full authority to go after DOJ/WH then 2012 looking much better for Obama.”

Rae on January 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM

but the list seems perhaps a little more modest than Democrats may have feared…

And it will get more modest. In the end, this “modesty” is just another form of corruption. There are no truth-tellers, and no truth-seekers in the venal and cowardly warrens of Washington.

I never expected a thing from Issa, and I won’t be disappointed.

rrpjr on January 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Wouldn’t want to irritate those nice folks on the other side of the aisle, would we?

We can all take comfort that we didn’t “upset” anyone as the Mohammedan Mouthpiece’s regime continues its assault on the nation’s economic structure and Constitution.

MrScribbler on January 3, 2011 at 10:09 AM

agree with ya….they already have their ‘script’ on how mean the gop is…might as well GO FOR IT….

cmsinaz on January 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I fear Issa’s claims have been “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

flyfisher on January 3, 2011 at 10:19 AM

It looks as though Issa plans to start on issues where he can get bipartisan consensus for probes and work on building some momentum.

Not so sure that there is ‘bipartisan consensus’ to delve into Fannie & Freddie. It would be delightful if Issa played videos from past OFHEO hearings. Maybe he could ask Nancy Pelosi how it crept up on them ‘so silently on little cat’s feet’.

Buy Danish on January 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM

If a bipartisan consensus cannot be generated to protect Congress’ constitutional privileges, then perhaps bipartisanship in this context is overrated, and Issa should consider expanding his definition of “corruption” a little wider.

This is entirely wrong. The best way and perhaps only way to re-elect Obama is to hound him like Clinton was hounded by petty Ken Starr investigations. The GOP was blamed for them in 1998, and it only would be worse in 2012 when Bill Clinton, now a popular figure, goes on TV and points out the similarities. Anyway, elections should be about issues. We need to use elections to educate the public about the benefits of free enterprise. We aren’t talking about free enterprise when we are in a mud fight talking about corruption.

thuja on January 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

It’s also time for Congress to investigate why Freddie Mac chief financial officer David Kellerman killed himself in April 2009. Who put the pressure on him to cover up the risks of making hundreds of billions of dollars in bad loans?

J_Crater on January 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a direct result of the Gray Davis recall initiated by Issa…..Unintended consequences.

repvoter on January 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Every investigation should be prefaced by asking how it helps the country, the taxpayers, and the unemployed. The “Sestak issue” is criminal in a purely political way.

J_Crater on January 3, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Pick your battles, son. Don’t go jumping out of the trench until you know where the hell you are headed.

Limerick on January 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

From someone who stated that President 0bama is “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”, this list is a rather big disappointment.

Especially since there is so much low hanging fruit, like Holder’s clear malfeasance in several cases, the illegal firing of Mr. Walpin – investigations of actions so egregious they would be quickly solved to America’s benefit.

I think Mr. Issa and the GOP leadership need to grow some spines, and understand that they will be held to the promises made before the election, for serious investigations.

Rebar on January 3, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Remember Mr. Issa, you haven’t won until their women and children are all prostrate and crying in the streets.

Akzed on January 3, 2011 at 10:59 AM

To catch a big fish, you first need bait…showing up with blazing guns will turn the public off…but revealing, unraveling the deception and lies slowly to the public, will be much more effective.
When the ACORN tapes were revealed one by one, it was much more effective then just throwing them all out at once.
As they proceed, it will give the dems the opportunity to hang themselves as they try to cover up their mis-deeds.
This will be death by a thousand cuts…

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Agreed.

The long faces that we see comes from living close to their fears. If this is up, and Issa’s up, theyr’e running out of sight cause they’re seeing their name on the wall…
Let the Dems trip themselves up as one thing leads to another.

If Issa throws “bombs”, the MSM will spin it as hyperpartisan. Reason we weren’t flooded with this meme since the election was because Issa kept his intentions on close hold while allowing the MSM to speculate on the range & scope. I say let’s give him some room to manuever and see what comes of it.

AH_C on January 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Congressman Issa would be well-advised to under-promise on what he’s going to do and over-deliver with his results. Overwrought rhetoric that later has to be “clarified” to explain what was really meant gives the impression that he’s just another beltway loudmouth. He’d be wise to remember the words of that NY Jets player – reflecting on the thumping his team had just taken at the hands of the Patriots – “I hate humble pie. It tastes like an old tire and goes down like peanut butter.”

potkas7 on January 3, 2011 at 11:12 AM

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Well said. The death of 1,000 cuts.
Walking around screaming about impeachment does you no good and gets bad press.
Talking reasonably and getting 100 agency staffers to resign in disgrace is too big for the press to hide.

And IMHO, it is the Agency Staff that must be targeted. Let them either take the fifth or under oath explain what they are up to and we win.

Imagine the staffer of the EPA that under oath must quote source and details to back his conclusion that CO2 is a poison. Or the indisputable proof that Global Warming is Man Made. Or how much of an effect on Global Warming the regulation that is planned. (If everyone had followed the Kyoto Accord, the effect would have been .000002 degrees over 30 years.)

barnone on January 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM

I sure would like to see some arrests and jail time for whoever is guilty. Maybe that would get some attention both in congress and the general public too. What the public sees and I’m one of them is a wrist slap and a tear from the guilty party. SOS.

mixplix on January 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Don’t care if there are any arrests, just put the fear of God into the Obama WH and stop the governing by edict and bureaucracy. That will be enough.

jeanie on January 3, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I think it’s fear of the enormity of the crimes which is holding the GOP back.

The black panther case would certainly lead to Holder doing a perp walk, and the Walpin case could very well lead to 0bama’s impeachment.

The republican leadership is afraid of holding this tiger by the tail, so they won’t even try.

Rebar on January 3, 2011 at 11:55 AM

For God’s sake, Michelle Malkin already did the work. Just get her book. It’s a crib sheet for corruption investigations.

rrpjr on January 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

A great explanation of some of the issues, as well as some suggested fixes, related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can be found here:

DRAGONS to be SLAIN in 2011!

Mutnodjmet on January 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

It looks like Issa is part of the corruption and being paid by the WH to take it easy on them.

HellCat on January 3, 2011 at 12:00 PM

the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis;

You all will be surprised and delighted by the time this investigation is done, if it is done as well as Issa’s investigation of ACORN was done.

Do not forget that Barack Obama led all candidates in political contributions from Fannie Mae right up until the day Fannie collapsed and was taken over by the government. There is a reason for that, and if Issa looks even a little bit, he will find it.

rockmom on January 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Keep in mind that Issa will have to keep a low profile on any investigations so sleazy Eric Holder won’t know what evidence to shred.

viking01 on January 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

I can’t wait to see the left’s vociferous defense of corruption between now and 2012. If November 2, 2010 was any indication, America has just about had enough of the left.

Here’s prayer for very public House hearings.

Roy Rogers on January 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Issa better emember not to let the media frame the investigations. 90% of Americans still believe that Slick Willy was inpeached because he got a BJ, not becuase of perjury.

Vic on January 3, 2011 at 12:46 PM

90% of Americans still believe that Slick Willy was inpeached because he got a BJ, not becuase of perjury.

Vic on January 3, 2011 at 12:46 PM

And 99% of Americans don’t know that several years before that, Clintoon had his Justice Department successfully prosecute a female Federal employee for lying under oath about the same thing his own defenders said he was above the law for doing later.

Goebbels would be proud of them all.

Del Dolemonte on January 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

The best way and perhaps only way to re-elect Obama is to hound him like Clinton was hounded by petty Ken Starr investigations.

thuja on January 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Hi, Hillary! How’s Chelsea?

Just curious-since when is investigating suborning perjury or obstructing justice “petty”?

Del Dolemonte on January 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I would hope for thoughtful investigations, and not the typical partisan muckraking as defined by that charming fellow Henry Waxman.

The bomb throwing and desperation defined by the House during the Clinton Administration was too off message about what Conservatives stood for. It became more important to assign motivations and conspiracies to The Clenis than to conduct real oversight. Gotcha politics are only effective for so long. Like any good Radio Personality knows, it’s very easy to run a bit into the ground.

Investigate where there is reasonable suspicion that there was genuine wrongdoing. It looks like this is the tact that Rep. Issa is taking.

juanito on January 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Nice going, Crusader Rabbit.

MrScribbler on January 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

To catch a big fish, you first need bait…showing up with blazing guns will turn the public off…but revealing, unraveling the deception and lies slowly to the public, will be much more effective.
When the ACORN tapes were revealed one by one, it was much more effective then just throwing them all out at once.
As they proceed, it will give the dems the opportunity to hang themselves as they try to cover up their mis-deeds.
This will be death by a thousand cuts…

right2bright on January 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

This is exactly right. There is tons of corruption in the Obama administration, but it’s covered up with a lot of secrecy and plausible deniability. If Issa jumps too fast, they’ll paint him as a rabid partisan. Of course, they’ll try to do it anyway, but it’s hard to get away with demagoguery when you’re finding and highlighting actual corruption.

There will be a time to go for the throat so to speak, but I say that only because I’m sure there’s corruption aplenty. “Sure” is a very different standard of evidence from saying, “Here’s the proof.”

The Walpin firing is low-hanging fruit, but it’s survivable for Obama on its own. It needs to be used to paint the undeniable picture of a man willing to do anything for political power. And you can’t really do that until the picture is undeniable.

tom on January 3, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Darrell Issa, self made uber-millionaire, is elected from San Diego. I live in San Diego. I remember Darrell Issa from the old days very well.

Darrell Issa is all show and no go. That is Darrell Issa. He is a limp noodle. He talks and bellows and rattles his saber plenty, but he does little else.

One thing he does have going for him though is that he definitely is not a RINO.

FlatFoot on January 3, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Why is he holding back? They are going to paint him as Joseph McCArthy 2.0 no matter what he does; he might as well go for the throat.

bitsy on January 3, 2011 at 3:15 PM