Posted by: Deborah D | August 20, 2010

Subpoena power comes with the majority.

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Subpoena power comes with the majority.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been a loud and lonely voice in the minority calling for investigations of, and doing his best to look into corruption in, the executive branch over the last two years. In his position as ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he has been a small thorn in the Obama administration’s side. He hopes, with a possible Republican majority in the House of Representatives after the fall election, to be a really big thorn, a thorn with the poison of subpoena power. Our nation will be well-served by this avid crusader for the people. This is from Robert Costa over at National Review Online.

“Cabinet officers, assistant secretaries, directors — I will be able to take on everybody that the president hires and relies upon; the people who tell him that everything is fine,” pledges Issa…

For months, Issa… has been delving into allegations of bureaucratic abuse and political foul play, prepping for the committee chairmanship should the chance come. A relentless critic of the Obama administration, he frequently takes to cable news to highlight his growing pile of files. Everything from the alleged job offers made to Democratic candidates by White House emissaries, to the private-sector ties of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has caught his eye.

Prodding Democrats for answers, of course, has brought him both notoriety and enemies. The New York Times, for example, calls him President Obama’s “Annoyer-in-Chief.” Issa shrugs off Democrats’ displeasure. In fact, he says that he enjoys tangling with the administration and its flacks. But subpoena power, he notes, will make a “big difference” between annoying the administration and “holding its feet to the fire.”

“You will get oversight where now you don’t,” Issa observes. “[In the minority,] I try to create public awareness about my questions so that I can try to get at least partial answers. Without press coverage, however, it is hard to get heat onto members. The administration often simply does not respond.” With subpoena power, the stakes change. Republicans, he predicts, “may not have to use it, but when [investigative targets] know that you can, it makes them attempt to give you an answer.”  Snip –

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) chaired the same committee during the Clinton years and got roughed up pretty badly by Rahm Emanuel (who, of course, is once again in the White House.)

Burton, who issued more than 1,000 subpoenas during his chairmanship, has high hopes for Issa. “It is extremely important to make sure that nothing questionable is going on in the executive branch and in government agencies,” he says. “Issa, who I think is very thoughtful and forceful, will likely do whatever is necessary as chairman to make sure that oversight is carried out. In that sense, he is a lot like I was: Unwilling to back down even when people threaten you.”

If he wins the chairmanship, Issa will be able to hire a slew of investigators. He says he hopes to build a team with a “healthy lack of respect, if you will, for bureaucrats. . . . I want them to assume that bureaucrats will always paint a rosy picture and to dig deep. . . . I’d look for the kind of people — talented attorneys and other investigators — who have the skills to do the research and find the failures in government.”  Snip –

David Bossie, who worked as chief investigator for Burton, says Republicans should embrace the subpoena as “an incredibly powerful tool” that will enable Congress to keep a “true check and balance on power.” Being able to bring in officials for deposition, he says, “will be a game-changer,” with witnesses being forced to answer questions truthfully or risk the penalty of perjury.

I say let the games begin. This can’t happen soon enough. I believe Issa and his committee will have so much to investigate that there will be a hiring spree for talented investigators. It’s time we turned on the lights in this darkest of administrations so we can watch all the cockroaches run for cover. Issa will be the people’s own personal Raid can making the vermin gag on the fumes of truth. I can hardly wait to vote. Read it all here:


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