Rep. Darrell Issa: Who’s Watching the Watchdog?

By Richard Thayer

Sunday’s article in The New York Times on Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) begins: “Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The article goes on to state that most wealthy members of Congress downplay their riches and tend to distance themselves from any activities that might indicate they’re involved in conflicts of interest. This is a no-no for politicians.

But Rep. Issa doesn’t seem to care. Although he is the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he continues to wheel and deal in the business world, a world that often converges with his political one.

The New York Times article notes that since his election 11 years ago, Issa has not only been a very vocal advocate for big business, he has “bought up office buildings, split a holding company into separate multibillion-dollar businesses, started an insurance company, traded hundreds of millions of dollars in securities, invested in overseas funds, retained an interest in his auto-alarm company and built up a family foundation.”

Notes the times: He has his hands in so many pies that many of the issues now passing through the hallowed halls of Congress touch upon his business interests.

Despite several requests from the Times for a reply from Rep. Issa, they received none.

However, The Washington Post’s “The Huddle” reported on Monday that it had received a response from Issa’s spokesperson Becca Watkins in an e-mail. “Beginning with the opening line, the New York Times piece is riddled with factual errors and careless assertions that has resulted in a story predicated on innuendo and not fact. It’s disappointing that the so-called ‘paper-of-record’ has decided to publish a story that is nothing more than a compilation of left-wing blog posts that are easily found by a simple google search. In the same old playbook, every time Darrell Issa starts gaining ground, the left-wing smear machine goes on the attack. If anything, this story validates the work that the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is pursuing.”

To be continued.


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