After the Republicans took over the House of Representatives after the 2010 mid-term elections and even before he assumed chairmanship of the powerful House Oversight Committee, Republican Darrell Issa went on Fox News to announce a witch-hunt (my words) against the Obama administration. Armed with a preconceived political agenda, Issa was determined to uncover (or make-up) a “scandal” series designed to de-legitimize the Obama presidency.
The Issa public relations “scandal” under the guise of a congressional hearing relating to the assault on the U.S Consulate in Benghazi, was his first attack in the hyper partisan and obsessive GOP war against President Obama. It was also the first failed attack against Hillary Clinton, the most popular leader in America, who may well be our next president. Although it is unfortunate that four (4) Americans loss their lives in this tragedy, there was no “scandal.”
The second GOP made-up scandal had to do with the IRS targeting groups applying for an exemption under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This “scandal” came to light when the Associated Press reported that a draft report by a Treasury Department Inspector General found that the IRS subjected certain Tea Party affiliated groups to undue scrutiny in reviewing their application under 501(c)(4). This section requires such organizations to be exclusively “social welfare” non political operations. This “scandal” perpetuated by Republicans was that the IRS situation was deliberately planned by the Obama Administration because the Tea Partiers were the most vocal opponent on Obamacare. The most shameful comment, however, was made by House Oversight Chairman, Darrell Issa in an interview on CNN that according to his “gut” the President’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney was a “paid liar.” He said Carney was “making things up” when he said the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups was undertaken by “rogue” local employees. Issa said that the IRS review was “coordinated directly from headquarters in Washington.” Of course, Issa didn’t bother to say that progressive groups were also targeted.
The House Oversight Committee is probably the most powerful committee in congress. Since he assumed that chairmanship, Issa has spent millions of taxpayer dollars in conducting a series of bogus hearings that have not produced any semblance of a scandal in the Obama administration. His most recent significant abuse of his authority as Chairman occurred this past Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in a committee hearing designed solely for partisan political purposes.
That committee hearing was over the so-called IRS scandal and developed into a bizarre political circus when a former IRS official, Lois Lerner, asserted her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions. Lerner had previously refused to answer questions from Issa but after she invoked her right to not incriminate herself several times on Wednesday, Issa suddenly closed the hearing inciting an angry response from Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee. After Issa asked a series of apparently derogatory questions, Cummings was infuriated that he and his fellow Democrats were not allowed to respond or even ask a procedural question. “We’re adjourned. Close it down,” Issa said. “I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of this!” Cummings said with his microphone turned off. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is something absolutely wrong with that. It is absolutely un-American.” Issa later said that he cut Cummings off because Cummings was not “directing questions toward the witness and the committee had already adjourned.” Issa said that the hearing was only held to determine whether Lerner would give testimony, and since she would not “there was no question before us.” Such a spurious excuse from a congressional representative who embellishes and fabricates falsehoods on a consistent basis.
Since becoming Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa has used his position to keep the media focused on a series of unrestricted and costly investigations in his pursuit to find an Obama administration scandal. The dollars that he has spent in pursuing his bogus agenda would have covered the entire cost to extend unemployment insurance. In addition, the IRS has spent an estimated fourteen (14) million dollars just to respond to Issa’s myriad of requests.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, if you believe that this type of behavior should not be tolerated, do as I did, and contact your senator and congressperson and share your displeasure. I also contacted Speaker Boehner’s office and expressed my dismay at Issa’s actions.
Darrell Issa’s complete lack of respect for the Ranking Member on his committee is disgraceful, appalling and un American, and should be called out, but that’s just my take.