After ACORN’s demise, you might have thought that if if the GOP takes the House and Rep. Darrell Issa becomes the new chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the California Republican would have better things to worry about. You’d be wrong.
Last week, Issa issued a blueprint for his agenda titled “A Constitutional Obligation: Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch.” Among the issues he chastised the Democratic leadership for not addressing: the fraud he says was committed by the community organizing group ACORN.
A spokesman for Issa said that ACORN had already been addressed in a bipartisan way in Congress, but left open the possibility that Issa could address the “other entities that ACORN morphed into.” The Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development addressed such a group in a report issued at Issa’s request last week.
Some media coverage has indicated that Issa plans to go subpoena crazy. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) even said that Issa would be “issuing subpoenas everywhere” which he said “will define the next two years of the president’s administration. The White House will be full-time responding to subpoenas about where the president may or may not have been born, whether his mother and father were ever married, and whether his wife’s family is from Georgetown or Sampit.”
But according to spokesman Kurt Bardella, that’s not true.
“Despite what some Democrats say - the notion that we’re prepared to embark on an epic subpoena-led politically-motivated investigatory effort is just wrong and nothing Issa has said even hints at that,” Bardella told TPMMuckraker in an e-mail.
Bardella specifically criticized Clyburn, who he said lied that Issa would make President Obama’s birthplace a topic for the committee.
“Where he got that impression is beyond me, maybe it was from a sock-puppet but Darrell has NEVER even hinted that that was something he was interested in — it’s not — it’s a moot issue as Congress voted without any opposing vote on language that recognized that the President was born in Hawaii,” Bardella said. “That’s a legally binding resolution. How could he investigate something he acknowledged wasn’t an issue - he voted for the resolution.”
Issues Issa would address range from the more serious — like giving Inspector Generals subpoena power — to what critics say are the less-so-serious issues, like investigating the “Climate-Gate” controversy.
Bardella emphasized that issues like the FDA’s effectiveness (“especially in light of the salmonella outbreak and the Johnson & Johnson recalls”), Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s roles in the sub-prime crisis, health care reform (“Not repealing it, that’s not our job or jurisdiction but rather the implementation of it”), data transparency and postal reform would all be on the docket if Issa were in control of the committee.
“The unparalleled encroachment of the federal government in the private sector and the lives of individual Americans that began during the Bush Administration and continues in the Obama Administration… has led to concerns of an oncoming tsunami of opacity, waste, fraud, and abuse,” Issa’s report says. “This trend must be met by vigorous Congressional oversight of the massive federal bureaucracy.”
“A Constitutional Obligation: Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch” is embedded below.
Clyburn spokeswoman Kristie Greco sent this response to Bardella:
“If it was a moot point why is the former Chairman of Government Oversight, Rep. Burton, a co-sponsor of a birther bill and why have other members of the Committee, Reps. McHenry and Fortenberry, raised question about the origin of the President’s birth?”