Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Given the title of the committee it shouldn’t surprise that this body has the authority to look into any government matter whenever it likes. Since the midterm elections Congressman Issa has promised to use that mandate liberally, albeit to conservative ends. He’s promised an avalanche of investigations directed at the Obama administration, ranging from the disbursement of TARP funds to that perennial favorite, the transgressions of ACORN.
I don’t mind that the Obama administration will face scrutiny, even if there is a high degree of it. Government works best when people are watching, paying attention. It’s a form of quality control. When there’s a concern, it ought to be publicly voiced and thoroughly, competently and ethically examined. But what I do mind is when investigations are started that have no substance, but are initiated specifically to uncover something embarrassing, at a minimum, that’s then blown out of all proportion to the original intent of the investigation. These are called ‘fishing expeditions.’ Think along the lines of Ken Starr’s investigation into the Whitewater matter, and that led to the Lewinsky debacle which ultimately let to Clinton’s impeachment.
Having said that, the new chairman, Congressman Issa, has a bit of a checkered past himself. It includes, accusations of arson, insurance fraud, threatening his employees, car theft, and a few other zingers. I don’t like the guy and I don’t think he’s ethical. The reason that makes me think he’s a crook is that people don’t continually manufacture allegations to ‘take someone out.’ Particularly when they come from a variety of people over a long, long period of time. Politicians are usually pretty adept at taking themselves out, either through their own stupidity or their own corruption, or through a fatal combination of the two.
I don’t think that Darrell Issa is any exception to this tendency. Since Issa entered Congress twelve years ago, he’s been unable to dispel these allegations with any degree of finality. That this guy, with his past, has somehow managed to acquire the authority to root out corruption and incompetence in the government is kind of laughable. But, that’s what passes for ‘leadership’ in the House these days.