Even before the Republicans officially took over the House in the new Congress, Southern California conservative Republican Rep. Darrell Issa was gleefully rubbing his hands in anticipation of all the investigative hearings he could hold as chair of the House Government Oversight Committee. He's been itching for power ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger overshadowed him and forced him to drop out of the 2003 Recall election.
But on Wednesday, the progressive California-based Courage Campaign launched a national accountability project– www.issawatch.com — that will hold public hearings on Darrell Issa - fact-checking, providing background information, scrutinizing the House scrutinizer-in-chief.
"When the GOP regained the Congressional majority in 1994, it turned the House Oversight Committee into a tool for frivolous, costly, partisan witch hunts aimed at destroying President Clinton," said Courage Campaign Founder Rick Jacobs. "The net result of that effort was eight years of George Bush, 10 years of war, record debt, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We launched Issa Watch to prevent a repeat of history."
I think this could be a very valuable resource, much as NOM Exposed - their project with the Human Rights Campaign - serves to shine a light on the National Organization for Marriage.
Here's a good portion of the Courage Campaign's press release:
Since 2008, GOP leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have said their top priority is making President Obama “a one-term President.”
Issa has done little to distance himself from these statements. Over the last year, he's been widely criticized for hurling numerous unsubstantiated accusations at the Obama Administration, including calling the President everything from "impeachable" to "corrupt."
Newspaper Editorial Boards from across the country have also expressed concern about Issa's willingness to put the responsibilities of oversight before his own partisan political objectives. Issa's hometown newspaper, the San Diego Union Tribune, said recently that Issa's overtly partisan rhetoric "undermines his own credibility."
The Courage Campaign, a 700,000 plus member national progressive advocacy organization, has thousands of members that live in Issa's Congressional District–which includes portions of San Diego and Riverside Counties. Its Issa Watch project will include a daily blog, as well as online and offline organizing campaigns designed to shine a light on the Chairman's record, rhetoric, and investigative priorities.
"From his checkered past and conflicts of interest, to his reliance on overheated partisan rhetoric and advocacy of right wing conspiracy theories, Darrell Issa is, in many ways, like Glenn Beck with subpoena power." Jacobs added. "That's why it's so important for the media and the American public to hold Darrell Issa to the same standards of accountability expected of those who appear before his committee."
Issa Watch has already chronicled the following:
Checkered Past: Including multiple arrests for alleged car theft, two arrests on weapons charges, allegations Issa fled from the scene of an accident, and a Washington Post story saying he had been "under criminal suspicion" for a fire involving a company he owned. On Monday, The New Yorker published a thorough chronicle of these and other questions that continue to swirl around Issa's past.
Conflicts of Interest: Issa has accepted millions of dollars from corporate special interests, including at least $80,000 from 150 of them that he recently wrote to request help identifying regulations for him to investigate. He has also appointed Subcommittee Chairs who will oversee industries that include some of their largest campaign contributors.
Pattern of Hypocrisy: Despite calling the practice "tantamount to a bribe," Issa has requested hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks in recent years, including millions for two of his largest campaign contributors while opposing healthcare for 9/11 first responders. He's also flip flopped on everything from federal whistleblower protections to oversight of White House e-mails, and support for tax cuts.
U.S. Attorney Scandal/Cunningham Bribery Scandal: Issa was instrumental in the firing of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, and co-signed a 2005 letter with former Congressman "Duke" Cunningham criticizing her work. Lam who was investigating Cunningham for taking bribes, was subsequently fired. Cunningham was eventually convicted and jailed. Issa refused a subpoena in a related case.
Glenn Beck with Subpoena Power?: From Acorn to the denial of Climate Science, Issa has championed a number of the theories advanced by Glenn Beck. He's cited Beck's program as a "source" in at least one past investigation, featured video from Beck's program on the Oversight Committee's YouTube page, appeared numerous times on Beck's show, and associated himself with Beck's anti-government rhetoric,--saying "I absolutely agree" when Beck asked, "we are building a new exoskeleton and it's feasting on our republic...agree or disagree," on 7/23/09.
For more information, visit www.issawatch.com.
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Issa-Exposed/111085662294735
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/issaexposed
(Crossposted at LGBTPOV)