House Oversight to investigate government loan programs

posted at 2:05 pm on September 20, 2011 by Tina Korbe

As Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been at the helm of the investigation of the first major scandal to rock the Obama administration — Operation Fast and Furious, which has led to at least 200 murders in Mexico and some 11 violent crimes in the U.S.

Now, he wants a piece of the administration’s two latest disgraces — the debacles surrounding Solyndra and LightSquared, two companies that received major loans from the federal government. But Issa isn’t interested to prove whether the administration backed Solyndra with the presumed suspicion it was doomed to bankruptcy. Nor does he want to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that the White House pressured Congressional witnesses to paint LightSquared in an exponentially better light than the company and its products deserved. Instead, he plans to turn his committee’s attention to the root of the problem — whether government loan programs are a good idea in the first place.

“We’re investigating it a little differently than what you’re seeing on the news,” Issa said today on a conference call with reporters. “We’re looking at things more broadly because we’re Government Reform. Is there an inherent distortion when you allow government entities that are politically influenced or even have political appointees to pick specific companies [to receive loans]?”

In other words, Issa wants to investigate whether political appointees are improperly influenced to pick winners and losers based on campaign donations.

“Our Committee is questioning whether this kind of activity can go on again because you have multiple entities in which political appointees are able to pick winners — often winners that are very much out there, very easy to check as major supporters of the president,” he said. “We’re not going to try to deal with the efficacy of the investment but rather with whether this pattern of spending your money — whether through stimulus funds or others — should, bottom-line, be eliminated.”

Until the government is properly reformed to correct that inherent distortion, if it exists (which I think it does!), wrongdoing of the sort seen in the Solyndra and LightSquared improprieties will continue, Issa said.

“I think we should understand anytime you give political appointees billions of dollars to put in a piggy bank, you’re going to have this kind of misconduct,” he said.

Basically, Issa is pointing out an obvious truth: Government loan programs in the hands of political appointees tempt corruption.

This is exactly the right approach to take. As serious as they are, the Solyndra and LightSquared scandals run the risk of being overblown by conservatives, billed as evidence of the president’s nonstop political scheming. And on one level, that’s exactly what they are. But on another level, this administration has only been able to reward its friends because it inherited a system that enabled it to do so. Yes, we need to oust this president in November 2012. But we also need real reform of the crony capitalist system. To do that, we flat-out need smaller government because, while Big Government and Big Business supporters like to pretend they’re in opposite ends of the house, they’re almost always in bed together.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Go get ‘em!

carbon_footprint on September 20, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Hopefully Obama and Holders “Chickens are coming home to roost.”

sandee on September 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Hope you have a food taster Issa! bho is not going to be very happy with you at all! Please keep up the good work and try to hold those responsible accountable! God bless you Issa and Grassley.
L

letget on September 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

I have no confidence that any of this will go anywhere.

Knucklehead on September 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

DESTROY!

Chuck Schick on September 20, 2011 at 2:14 PM

the debacles surrounding Solyndra and LightSquared, two companies that received major loans from the federal government.

one of whom subsequently went under taking over a half a billion dollars along with it and another that suggests that the testimony of the SPACECOM commander was unduly influenced.

ted c on September 20, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Against clear federal law, the taxpayer loans were subordinated to private (and politically connected) investors. This needs to be aggressively prosecuted.

Uncledave on September 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Git’er done

cmsinaz on September 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Always reform, sure, but we need prosecutions if they are deserved here, mmkay?

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 2:16 PM

For a brutal blow-by-blow account of the FCC’s favoritism and irregularities toward Falcone and LightSquared, see letter from Ken Boehm, Chairman, National Legal and Policy Center, to Chairman Issa and Congressman Towns.

Link: http://nlpc.org/stories/2011/03/01/will-fccs-political-favor-harbinger-hedge-fund-result-gps-interference

petefrt on September 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Great writing. This guy Issa is pretty fired up when you see the public broadcasts. I hope that he can effect some real CHANGE. The more light that is shed on abuses of government power, the more the average person will realise we need smaller and a less active federal (or should I call it national?) government. Business never gets in bed with a small government that cannot affect its profitably. Who knows? Maybe the next election in 2016 we won’t have campaigns spending a billion dollars to market to the voters. Dare to dream friends…. dare to dream.

MikeM on September 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

ObamaAA+ wants to micromanage banks. But when his West Wing wink bank goes into lending, i suspect they don’t need financial statements. Like the home loans without complete applications.

seven on September 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Good! That’s exactly what needs to be done. This admin took over college loans among other things. Republicans and Democrats alike love to subsidize “green” s#!t. Even GOP candidates have energy “programs” for that very purpose. If government were good at “investing” we’d have trillions in the bank instead of IOUs.

cartooner on September 20, 2011 at 2:23 PM

In his “Jobs plan” which s/b renamed to “JOB Plan”, as he’s only interested in his own job, he has an item to charge all commercial and private flights $100 for eacht time they leave the ground.

The swine doesn’t realize the ironly of his travels in jets and the fact that the industry already has a dearth of young who are interested in piloting.

This is an Oaf with no limits. Until I see his grades and the papers he wrote I will have to assume him to be a dummy, though a narcissistic autocratic self-deluded and self-adulating one.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I <3 Rep. Issa!!

Khun Joe on September 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Akzed, agree there

cmsinaz on September 20, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Make John Bolton Attorney General and turn their sorry hides over to him for incarceration purposes. Political points are okay, but let’s not let these, or future leaders of any party in America get away with any criminal activit.

The standard must be higher for elected officials not lower. And while you’re at it, get rid of that apartheid medical and pension system gifted to congress -it’s un-American!

Don L on September 20, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I have no confidence that any of this will go anywhere.

Knucklehead on September 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Agreed.
No one has the cajones it would take to actually DO something about any problem concerning the governement.
Issa’s been talking this kind of crap for a while.
And yet nothing HAPPENS.
I hate them all.
I want them ALL gone.
They are all COWARDS. Every last one of them.
I’m sick of all the kibbitzing.
Somebody effing do something.

Badger40 on September 20, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Isaa sure talks a good fight, doesn’t he?

He’s gonna investigate! Wooohoooo!

Months of representatives sitting on their fat behinds feeding their opinions to “witnesses.” Mind-numbingly long (and usually misguided, uninformed and self-serving) statements made by our alleged “servants” who are straining at the leash to Fight Evil and Right Wrongs.

And the result? Strongly worded condemnations. Maybe. If party affiliations don’t get in the way.

The affairs of SCoaMF Osama Obama and Holder (all of them) should be under investigation by grand juries, not political hacks. Without impeachment, resignations, firings, indictments and impeachment, nothing is accomplished beyond the consumption of much taxpayer money and congress members’ preening.

MrScribbler on September 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I have no confidence that any of this will go anywhere.

Knucklehead on September 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Except that it will force the MSM to reluctantly cover it.

And aren’t you Greta Garbo?

John the Libertarian on September 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I have no doubt that, from the moment they walked though the door to the White House, the 0bama administration intended to pull a Cloward-Piven strategy on federal investigators.

That is, they would commit so many crimes and ethical violations that they would completely overwhelm the system.

UltimateBob on September 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

That last “impeachment” s/b “imprisonment,” BTW.

MrScribbler on September 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Hopefully Obama and Holders “Chickens are coming home to roost roast.”

sandee on September 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

FIFY

honsy on September 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

What about impeachment proceedings?

antisocial on September 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Government directives and resources partnering up with private industry rings a bell.

Remind me where we saw that in history?

Ben Hur on September 20, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Yeah but will Issa take on Sheriff Joe?

Rovin on September 20, 2011 at 2:46 PM

“We’re looking at things more broadly because we’re Government Reform.”

Huzzah! The government will be reformed in NO time!

Lily on September 20, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Issa appears to be doing his job, but the Obama admin does an even job of stonewalling, or mast plain not responding.

I have seen lots of strongly worded letters, but unless there is follow up with action (prosecution etc), nothing will come os Issa’s work.

VibrioCocci on September 20, 2011 at 2:55 PM

*of not os

VibrioCocci on September 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM

welcome to the party, pals.

joeindc44 on September 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM

whether government loan programs are a good idea in the first place.

With roughly $20,000 in student loan debt, I can safely confirm that government loans are a bad idea.

RDE2010 on September 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I read the title and instantly saw one of the pilots from Star Wars at the Death Star fight at the end where one of the pilots is saying “Stay on Target… Stay on Target…”. I hope they listen to that guy :)

jeffn21 on September 20, 2011 at 3:06 PM

How does “Attorney General Issa” sound?

Imagine dropping that hint at a Democratic fund-raising luncheon.

“Stay on Target… Stay on Target…”. I hope they listen to that guy :)

jeffn21 on September 20, 2011 at 3:06 PM

psst…Vader waxed all of those guys….

BobMbx on September 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

psst…Vader waxed all of those guys….

BobMbx on September 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Except Wedge. No one ever got Wedge, lol.

Interesting trivia… the guy who played Wedge was the uncle of Ewan McGregor who played young Obi Wan.

jeffn21 on September 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

As serious as they are, the Solyndra and LightSquared scandals run the risk of being overblown by conservatives, billed as evidence of the president’s nonstop political scheming.

I don’t think they can be overblown. Solyndra is far worse than political scheming. Andy McCarthy (former Assistant US Attorney in NY) at NRO writes in The Solyndra Fraud:

The Solyndra debacle is not just Obama-style crony socialism as usual. It is a criminal fraud. That is the theory that would be guiding any competent prosecutor’s office in the investigation of a scheme that cost victims — in this case, American taxpayers — a fortune.

Fraud against the United States is one of the most serious felony offenses in the federal penal law. It is even more serious than another apparent Solyndra violation that has captured congressional attention: the Obama administration’s flouting of a statute designed to protect taxpayers.

INC on September 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Government directives and resources partnering up with private industry rings a bell.

Remind me where we saw that in history?

Ben Hur on September 20, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The Fascist Mussolini is what comes first to my mind. I have been saying for a long time this Administrations type of government is Fascist not Marxist. Proof that Fascism is NOT a far right type of government.

IowaWoman on September 20, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I have no confidence that any of this will go anywhere.

Knucklehead on September 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

+1

Quote from commentor “Voltaire” on this link:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/277552/solyndra-loan-felony-dumb-andrew-stiles

Voltaire: 09/19/11 09:45

I’m beginning to think that it’s the lack of personal accountability that is the crux of the problem.

Taxpayer money is taxpayer time and life. The time I or you spend earning the money that goes to the Government is irreplaceable. Being entrusted with the administration of this revenue is nothing less than a sacred responsibility. Or it should be.

Instead, both the temporal and the unaccountable nature of elected office make it an easy, consequence-free game to play roulette with tax money, while always demanding more. Not to mention the wholly insulated bureaucracies–faceless, nameless drones who hide behind layers of unelected hierarchies to freely spend, impose, restrict and regulate.

I therefore think that deals like Solyndra are not, as our author semi-jokingly says, “Felony dumb.” They are felonies, and should be treated as such–on a par with embezzlement or even treason.

There should be mass firings, resignations and even handcuffs for a few of those involved. Until we start demanding this as a matter of national culture, we are ever closer to the lip of the waterfall.

SoldiersMom on September 20, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Me confused.

crr6 say nothing to see here.

HUH?

angryed on September 20, 2011 at 4:34 PM

They can investigate til the chickens come home to roost, but unless it ends up in an indictment, it’s a colossal waste of time and my money. I want to see some perp walks goin’ on.

Kissmygrits on September 20, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I don’t think they can be overblown. Solyndra is far worse than political scheming. Andy McCarthy (former Assistant US Attorney in NY) at NRO writes in The Solyndra Fraud:

The Solyndra debacle is not just Obama-style crony socialism as usual. It is a criminal fraud. …

Fraud against the United States is one of the most serious felony offenses in the federal penal law. It is even more serious than another apparent Solyndra violation that has captured congressional attention: the Obama administration’s flouting of a statute designed to protect taxpayers.

INC on September 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I have to agree with you and SoldiersMom on September 20, 2011 at 4:03 PM

And if Solyndra looks ugly, get a load of LightSquared. (Read the thread)

petefrt on September 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Take it to the crooks, Issa! The steady drip, drip, drip, of the facts will finally take Obama et.al. out!Remember Watergate where the Dims just kept digging and leaking and digging and leaking til it finally became an avalanche. This Obama corruption is so massive and widespread that I doubt the administration will escape jail before the 2012 election. I firmly believe they are guilty of every fraud and crime and even treason against this country.When it starts they will fall like dominoes.The Truth will set this nation free again!

Marco on September 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The affairs of SCoaMF Osama Obama and Holder (all of them) should be under investigation by grand juries, not political hacks. Without impeachment, resignations, firings, indictments and impeachment, nothing is accomplished beyond the consumption of much taxpayer money and congress members’ preening.

MrScribbler on September 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Pal you don’t know Issa…and you certainly don’t know the law.

right2bright on September 20, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Nor does he want to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that the White House pressured Congressional witnesses to paint LightSquared in an exponentially better light than the company and its products deserved.

I see what you did there.

Good to see Rep. Issa going to the heart of the matter. Some of the bad guys may even think they’ll get to slide because the focus isn’t directly on them. But once the oversight folks derive their initial conclusion, they’ll zero in on specifics in all of the current cases, and deliver a mandate to Justice. Then, when Holder stonewalls those investigations, he will have painted the final target on his own back. (Disclaimer: Tone not intended to condone nor suggest physical violence)

Holder will not look good in stripes. Bubba won’t care.

Freelancer on September 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM

As long as Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are still in business encouraging and bundling sub-prime loans…and nobody…including Dodd and Frank has been indicted for these scams…it’s hard to take anyone in Washington…including Issa, seriously!!!

landlines on September 20, 2011 at 9:34 PM