Monday, November 22, 2010

Yes Rep. Issa, Please, by All Means Dig, Dig, Dig

This New York Times article asks whether Rep. Darrell Issa and the GOP will be digging or investigating a long laundry list of violations that the Obama admin has committed over the last two years.  I can almost guarantee that Rep. Issa and the GOP will be investigating away.  YEA!! The N.Y. Times columnist Brian Friel makes an educated guess as to which issues he thinks that Darrell Issa and the GOP will be investigating after they takeover the reigns in January.  Friel even goes onto mention some additional issues which he thinks should be investigated as well. 

Here is the list:

White House job offers. The question is whether the administration offered plum positions to get two Senate primary challengers — Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado — to drop their bids against Democratic incumbents. While the White House insists and most legal experts agree that no law was broken, Mr. Issa has said that that Americans could have “confidence in the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn” by the administration in the cases only if they have access to all related documents.

“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.”

BP oil-spill response. Republicans may want to emphasize the White House’s missteps in dealing with the Gulf oil spill in April. In July, Mr. Issa said that the administration’s “preoccupation with public relations” might have hindered local officials’ efforts to deal with the disaster.

Economic stimulus. Representative Issa created a Web site where people can post pictures of road signs touting projects financed by the $787 billion economic stimulus package; he says the signs are little more than expensive propaganda, costing taxpayers $192 million. Mr. Issa will no doubt find additional creative ways to raise doubts about the administration’s response to the Great Recession, which he says has wasted money on swimming pools, zoos and golf courses.

Czars. Mr. Issa wants to give special scrutiny to unconfirmed presidential advisers including Elizabeth Warren, who is setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Carol Browner, who oversees environmental policy. Such czars are a sign of the “arrogance of government,” Mr. Issa says, because their appointments avoid Congress’s constitutional advise-and-consent role.


Federal contracts. Agencies paid private contractors at least $539 billion in fiscal 2009, much of it with little or no competition or performance evaluation. An additional $660 billion-plus in grants to states, local governments and nonprofits has undergone no systemic Congressional review. The committee should look into possible waste and whether contracting rules were followed.

The Civil Service. As with contractors, Congress has not systemically reviewed the performance and efficiency of the government’s 1.8 million-member work force.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. At $136 billion so far, the federal takeover of the quasi-private housing corporations is the most expensive component of the government’s response to the economic crisis. Figuring out the government’s role in the housing market going forward is essential after decades of Congressional neglect.

Defense spending. Congress has been loath to dig too deeply into waste in the Pentagon budget, in part because every state and Congressional district benefits from the spending. But 8 of the 31 agencies on the Government Accountability Office high-risk list of programs “vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement” are run out of the Defense Department. Certainly Congress should scrutinize them.

Food safety. A series of recalls, including that of half a billion eggs last summer in a salmonella outbreak, has highlighted the strains on the Food and Drug Administration. Congress should investigate whether it needs to be reformed or its duties taken up by other agencies.

Transparency. The government keeps too much information secret, operating a costly system of classification. Much of the information it does make public is impossible for most citizens to comprehend. Republicans could push agencies to declassify more information more quickly and draft legislation to compel the bureaucracy to release data in more usable formats.

Veterans health. Since the exposure of terrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, Congress has dumped billions into the veterans health system. But there has been little follow-up to examine the quality of care and the cost-effectiveness of efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

Loan guarantees. Congress has backed more than $100 billion in loans in energy-related private projects. Because the guarantees don’t cost much up front, they tend to get little scrutiny. But the taxpayers are on the hook for any projects that go bust, and Congress should scrutinize them more carefully to determine the risk of failure and whether the projects truly deserve our backing.

Agency performance. Do taxpayers get what they pay for? In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act, requiring federal agencies to report each year on how well they were meeting goals, like whether the Internal Revenue Service is collecting all taxes due or whether the Education Department is improving student achievement. Agencies still produce those reports, but everyone involved knows that nobody really reads them. Oversight committees should start using them the way shareholders use companies’ annual reports: to see if their investments are paying off.

Congress itself. Committees in general do little sustained oversight, instead chasing headlines. And they operate with significant overlap — more than 100 committees and subcommittees oversee the Homeland Security Department, for example. The committees offer few channels for public input and participation. As one expert says, “I’d like to see Congress take a hard look at how it does oversight before it does any more of it.”

I am looking forward to seeing Rep. Darrell Issa dig, dig, dig, and the deeper the better.


Most Rev. Gregori said...

I sure hope the new Congress not only investigates, but that they also start impeachment proceedings. If they don't, then we are in huge trouble and America is finished.

Randy-g said...

Great post Teresa!, I hope they do a full court press on these rat ba$tards!

Matt said...

They have to do investigations and be prepared for the lefty backlash.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

I'm with you, Teresa, I hope that Mr. Issa digs and digs and digs and doesn't stop until he's uncovered all the high crimes and misdemeanors of this admin.

Joe said...

Dig, indeed! This "most ethical administration and congress ever" shure hasn't been.

John Carey said...

We need to be careful here. If all we do is dig dig dig, the public might get the perception that we're more concerned about burning down Obama's house than about the business of getting people back to work. This could backfire on us. This is why I'm a huge proponent of pick and choose your battles. If we go forward guns a blazing we could end up paying a steep price in 2012. I believe there are some things we definitely need to look at; we just need to be strategic about it.

Soloman said...

I'm with John Carey on this one.

As much as I despise Obama, we need our conservative representatives to be careful exactly what they choose to expose, and how much digging they do.

The last time we had a Democrat POTUS we had scandal after scandal, but in the public eye it largely backfired when the Republicans began to savage the Clinton administration.

We need our reps to move forward and bring issues to light if (and only if) they have evidence that is 100% absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, worthy of the public eye.

Aside from that, they really need to operate in a kind of behind the scenes fashion, because 95% of the media will the Republicans as RAAAAACIST and simply "out to get him."

Soloman said...

I think I missed a word...

because 95% of the media will label the Republicans as RAAAAACIST and simply "out to get him."

much better... heh.

Teresa said...

I think the scandal that was BLOWN way out of proportion and then was exacerbated by his lie was Clinton's hanky panky or sex act with Monica.

When I say dig, dig, dig, I mean that they can dig all they want while at the same time pursuing the rest of the items that we the voters are demanding/requesting they do. They can give small leaks to the press on the investigation while working on other things at the same time. But, they should not have a hearing without evidence to back it up. I think the American people both want and need to hear the truth about certain items of misconduct committed by both members of congress and the Obama admin.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

I think that the American people are far more educated now than ever before about both politics and how our government works. We know that there are numerous committees working on a variety of issues/areas of government. Mr. Issa's committee is the Oversight and Government Reform Committee; in other words, it's the express function and assigned duty of that committee to dig, dig, dig.

This isn't 1995, and the LSM will NOT be writing the narrative this time around. Fox will. We will. Heck, if I have to go door to explain it all, I will.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Investigate away, all the better for gridlock no matter the outcome.

While separate commitees are investigating and using supeona powers for White House personell, the main body can get on with legislation to repeal Husseincare while defunding any biginning to it.

LemonMeister said...

Can U send Bruce over to do his 2000 community service hours to fix my KB Home Lemon? He can stay there for the 8 months home confinement since he built it. How do you do 2000 community service hours if you’re confined at home? Another case of the two tiered judicial system in the US. Sounds like Eli, Otis, Bruce and John had a golf date they needed to get to. Bruce are you looking over your shoulder. Is KB Home picking up this fine too? Since they were picking up the multi million dollar legal fees for Karatz... the ones the shareholders are not getting as a dividend?

This ruling letting Bruce Karatz off the hook signals the return of the CARPETBAGGER! Go for it boys it’s a free for all for white collar crime. Were not going to see the downfall of Boss Tweed Karatz, the powerful Tammany Hall leader in this lifetime they just changed names, and suits and now are reborn on the Board of Directors of KB Home along with fellow character witnesses and other corporations with a license to steal. Tammany corruption (KB Home) has the seal of approval it’s the Justice Department or DOJ. After all "W" appointed Judge Wright to this position, is there anymore to say? Here's an image of the seal of approval: I understand Karatz had it encrusted in jewels and it's embedded on his throne in Bel Air! Let the pillaging begin (Louis-Auguste KARATZ aka King Bruce Louis XVI) & (Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna Lilly TARTIKOFF-KARATZ). If the HomeDepot is reading this it maybe a good idea to put pitchforks on sale for the peasants so your share price can go up and the Board can exercise those stock options. Congratulations Bruce you are KING of CORRUPTION and got away with it. Too bad the health announcement comes next? Since crooks are always leveled by the Universe. Bruce won the battle but lost the war.
Only a small minority in America stand up for his brother. This apathy is what your big brother is banking on. Sit there and now the latest thing is just about to pass in congress? If you grow your own vegetables in your backyard is soon to become illegal.

LemonMeister said...

Can U send Bruce over to do his 2000 community service hours to fix my KB Home Lemon? He can stay there for the 8 months home confinement since he built it. How do you do 2000 community service hours if you’re confined at home? Another case of the two tiered judicial system in the US. Sounds like Eli, Otis, Bruce and John had a golf date they needed to get to. Bruce are you looking over your shoulder. Is KB Home picking up this fine too? Since they were picking up the multi million dollar legal fees for Karatz... the ones the shareholders are not getting as a dividend?

Hoping the Blind Will See said...

Investigate, Impeach, Investigate, Expel, Investigate, Repeal, Investigate, phase out.... so much to do the next two year!

cube said...

Dig, baby, dig! I'm all for it too.

The Conservative Lady said...

Isn't it sad that there are SO MANY things that can be investigated?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Teresa!

Anonymous said...

Dig, dig, dig, and have a Happy Thanksgiving. And, pray for the revolution.

Anonymous said...

Good one Teresa. The culture of corruption is still alive and well in Washington. We cannot afford to let up.

Just a conservative girl said...

I, for one, want them to use a scapel not a sledgehammer. Pick and choose the battles.

My understanding of what Issa is planning on doing is calling the lower level people to testify instead of trying to create a media circus. Which is a good thing.

People will have little patience for show trials when we have 10% unemployment.

They need to investigate wisely.