U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is an identifiable example of the hostage-based politics that has marred Congress since the 2010 mid-term elections. As Chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Issa holds an important role in keeping Congress accountable. Yet, despite the seriousness of his title, Issa has used much of his time to coordinate attacks on behalf of his corporate donors. He has also played to the extreme of his party by jumping on the anti-worker bandwagon. He infamously invited Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to testify about the financial gains of ending collective bargaining (Walker eventually replied under oath that there were none), and refused to investigate Wal-Mart’s attempts to weaken Mexican anti-bribery laws. These and many other (we’ll call them) lapses in judgement have caused American Rights at Work (ARAW) to ask if he is House Oversight chairman “in name only.”
Perhaps Overreach or Overlook would be a more fitting committee for Issa to chair, ARAW suggests, as his record shows that he is not up to the task of unbiased oversight. Instead of acting as an actual watchdog for the people, Issa has used his position to further anti-worker policies that are being supported and funded by the corporations that will profit most from their enactment. Via ARAW:
• Interferes in ongoing legal case, threatening due process Threatened due process by launching an unprecedented probe into an open NLRB complaint issued against the Boeing Corporation by holding hearings and issuing subpoenas for sensitive documents.
• Manufactures crisis about union political activity Federal labor law already protects workers who do not want their money going toward their unions’ political efforts. Yet Chairman Issa held a hearing, launched a website, and sent threatening letters to unions about a problem that doesn’t exist: forced worker participation in the political process through their unions.
• Pursued unwarranted witch hunt against federal employees Over the past year, Issa launched 11 investigations and made at least 46 document requests based on allegations of criminal misconduct at the DOE with little to no supporting evidence. All claims have turned out to be inaccurate.
• Ignores NLRB’s watchdog report on serious ethics breaches Refused to hold a hearing on GOP NLRB member Flynn after an NLRB Inspector General report shows he compromised the board’s decision-making process by passing along sensitive, confidential information to corporate attorneys who conduct business before the NLRB, including a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney.
• Turns a blind eye to dubious pharmaceutical company practices Has chosen not to investigate pharmaceutical companies that buy up essential medicines in short supply and transfer them to subsidiaries, that in turn sell the drugs at a high cost on the “Gray Market,” potentially a legal violation.
• Prioritizing the 1% over the 99% To date, Rep. Issa has refused to hold a hearing on skyrocketing CEO pay or Wall Street’s role in the economic downturn. Issa instead investigated the SEC for its investigation of Goldman Sachs for fraud, while he purchased Goldman Sachs bonds during this time period.
Issa , the richest member of Congress with assets estimated at $451 million, is difficult to defend in this time of socio-political inequality. The position of House Oversight Committee Chair, if held by the right individual, is key in keeping a transparent and effective government. Issa’s track record of one-sidedness shows how government can be manipulated as a tool of the few.