Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his “investigations” are the curses that keep on giving. He and his incessant hearings attempting to manufacture a scandal that will stick have cost the American people tens of millions. His IRS witch hunt alone has cost more than $14 million, and still he persists.
His latest attempt to smear the President would be amusing if it wasn’t so expensive . Now he’s attempting to prove that the President is engaging in political activity taxpayer expense, something Barack Obama would never be stupid enough to do.
Back in March Issa’s committee issued a subpoena ordering David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach to provide testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concerning White House political activity.
Huffington Post reports on Tuesday there was a meeting held with committee staffers during which White House Counsel staff spent more than an hour answering the questions that the committee has after which both Republican and Democratic staff said that all questions had been satisfactorily answered.
Issa, however was not satisfied, firing off a letter to the White House asserting that:
“Mr. Simas is still under subpoena and is expected to appear at tomorrow’s hearing. I believe his on-the-record testimony will provide valuable insight into White House efforts to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer funds.”
On Tuesday evening White House counsel Neil Eggleston replied to Issa’s letter:
“The Committee’s effort to compel Mr. Simas’ testimony threatens longstanding interests of the Executive Branch in preserving the President’s independence and autonomy, as well as his ability to obtain candid advice and counsel to aid him in the discharge of his constitutional duties. In light of those principles … Mr. Simas is immune from congressional compulsion to testify on matters relating to his official duties and will not appear at the July 16, 2014 hearing.”
The issue will likely be taken to the courts now which will make it an effectively dead on arrival since there is little chance that a final resolution will be reached before the end of the current Congressional session and the subpoena cannot be carried over into the next session.
In 2008 a similar situation arose during the Bush Presidency when White House Counsel Harriet Miers was subpoenaed to testify about the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys. In that case Bush was overruled, however in that case there was credible evidence of wrong doing, something which is lacking in Issa’s vendetta.
Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the committee issued a statement in which he said:
“It’s bad enough that Chairman Issa issued a unilateral subpoena to a senior advisor to the President with absolutely no debate or vote by the Committee, but in this case, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Mr. Simas or anyone on his staff did anything wrong. There seems to be no reason to continue this ridiculous confrontation other than to manufacture false controversy as Chairman Issa’s tenure comes to an end.”
While the outcome is uncertain there is one fact that cannot be denied, as chairman of the committee Issa has issued 99 subpoenas easily surpassing all of his immediate predecessors combined, between 2003 and 2010 the committee issued 78 such subpoenas, a rate of 9.75 per year Issa has averaged 24.75 per year.
h/t: Huffington Post