Rep. Issa's oversight committee is going to be busy for a long time

Ed Lasky
For weeks there has been a great deal of speculation regarding the future actions of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that will now be chaired by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa.He will be holding hearings and sending subpoenas to a range of government officials so we can finally get some of that transparency we were promised during the 2008 campaign - promises that were thrown under the bus when Barack Obama took power.

There are the obvious topics: why was the New Black Panther Party case deep-sixed? Was ACORN a criminal conspiracy wrapped up in a community organizing garb? Were job offers in the Obama administration dangled as political favors? Were economic "stimulus" dollars wasted or channeled to Democrats under a "family and friends" of Democrats program? Do the czars and czarinas gut the Senate advise-and-consent role? Has defense spending been wasted? What is the proper role of government in the housing market and why have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac been spared scrutiny?

There are more areas that Brian Friel suggests are worthy of exploring in today's NY Times column "Where Will the G.O.P Go Digging?"


"Friends of Angelo." Several prominent Democrats, including two senators, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut (who chose not to run for re-election this month), were found to have received sweetheart mortgage rates from Countrywide Financial and its former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo. While the Senate Ethics Committee found "no substantial credible evidence" that the two senators had violated ethics rules, Mr. Issa says more investigation is warranted into whether other government officials got such deals.

Acorn. The liberal nonprofit group dissolved last year in the glare of conservative scrutiny, but some Republicans want an investigation into Acorn's federal financing for its housing programs, which amounted to at least $53 million since 1994.

New Black Panthers. Last year the Justice Department convened and then dropped an investigation into whether members of the New Black Panther Party intimidated voters at a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008. Many conservatives feel the case was concluded prematurely and would like the Justice Department to take it up again.

Climate science. Conservatives who question the consensus that climate change is manmade want to use various committees' oversight powers to challenge its scientific underpinnings, many of which were reached by federally financed researchers. Mr. Issa has focused on the so-called Climategate scandal involving alleged manipulation of data by British scientists: "For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data," Mr. Issa said. "If the raw data's in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn't exist. I want settled science."

Looking at Mr. Friel's list of "likely" investigations, as well as those matters he would like to see investigated, it is clear that Rep. Issa will be kept busy for a long time to come.


For weeks there has been a great deal of speculation regarding the future actions of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that will now be chaired by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa.

He will be holding hearings and sending subpoenas to a range of government officials so we can finally get some of that transparency we were promised during the 2008 campaign - promises that were thrown under the bus when Barack Obama took power.

There are the obvious topics: why was the New Black Panther Party case deep-sixed? Was ACORN a criminal conspiracy wrapped up in a community organizing garb? Were job offers in the Obama administration dangled as political favors? Were economic "stimulus" dollars wasted or channeled to Democrats under a "family and friends" of Democrats program? Do the czars and czarinas gut the Senate advise-and-consent role? Has defense spending been wasted? What is the proper role of government in the housing market and why have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac been spared scrutiny?

There are more areas that Brian Friel suggests are worthy of exploring in today's NY Times column "Where Will the G.O.P Go Digging?"


"Friends of Angelo." Several prominent Democrats, including two senators, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut (who chose not to run for re-election this month), were found to have received sweetheart mortgage rates from Countrywide Financial and its former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo. While the Senate Ethics Committee found "no substantial credible evidence" that the two senators had violated ethics rules, Mr. Issa says more investigation is warranted into whether other government officials got such deals.

Acorn. The liberal nonprofit group dissolved last year in the glare of conservative scrutiny, but some Republicans want an investigation into Acorn's federal financing for its housing programs, which amounted to at least $53 million since 1994.

New Black Panthers. Last year the Justice Department convened and then dropped an investigation into whether members of the New Black Panther Party intimidated voters at a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008. Many conservatives feel the case was concluded prematurely and would like the Justice Department to take it up again.

Climate science. Conservatives who question the consensus that climate change is manmade want to use various committees' oversight powers to challenge its scientific underpinnings, many of which were reached by federally financed researchers. Mr. Issa has focused on the so-called Climategate scandal involving alleged manipulation of data by British scientists: "For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data," Mr. Issa said. "If the raw data's in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn't exist. I want settled science."

Looking at Mr. Friel's list of "likely" investigations, as well as those matters he would like to see investigated, it is clear that Rep. Issa will be kept busy for a long time to come.