Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called President Obama’s administration ‘one of the most corrupt’ on Sunday, according to the Washington Post.
“In saying that this [the Obama administration is one of the most corrupt administrations, which is what I meant to say, when you hand out $1 trillion in TARP just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus, that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect.” (from Politico)
Issa said that the money was used ‘like presidential earmarks.’ Congress, he stated, should have done ‘its job’ and applied some, indeed, oversight:
“All of that would not have been possible if Congress had done its job, if we’d said, Mr. President, in the case of President Bush, what is it you need; tell us blow by blow, dollar by dollar, and we will give you the money on a case by case basis. Instead what happened is we gave President Bush, and President Obama inherited $80 billion worth of walking-around money with no guidelines so that what was supposed to help financial institutions ultimately bailed out car manufacturers.” (from the Orlando Sentinel)
The line of argument seems to be that, it was one thing for the Bush Administration to pass the legislation about ‘$1 trillion in TARP.’ But the next administration failed to be accountable and responsible, operating with ‘no guidelines’ and just handing out funds left and right.
On Fox News Sunday, in response to reports that the White House is adding lawyers to its staff in preparation for the planned oversight hearings—as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa will have subpoena power—the congressman said that it’s more accountants that will be needed:
“It’s more of an accounting function than legal function,…… It’s more about the inspector generals than it is about lawyers in the White House. And the sooner the administration figures out that the enemy is the bureaucracy and the wasteful spending, not the other party, the better off we’ll be.”
Under ‘wasteful spending,’ Issa includes Medicare fraud, as well as food and drug safety (including the recently passed modernization of food safety laws, which give the F.D.A. greater authority over food production). He was also highly critical of Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that the Justice Department should prosecute Wikileaks founder Julian Asssange as a criminal.
In his interviews yesterday, Issa noted that he intends to focus on wasteful spending rather than ‘political persecutions,’ though his comments might lead one to think otherwise.
Issa predicted that, as a result of investigations he plans, U.S. taxpayers will save some $200 billion over the next two years. And sure, his investigations may save taxpayers pennies and a bit more in the very immediate future.
But undoing legislation that’s intended to make our food, and us, safer (and healthier), not to mention benefits for senior citizens and for some individuals with disabilities, suggests that the savings that Issa predicts will be short-lived—-that, far from acting responsibly, he’s taking us on a dive
for some really short-end money.