GOP Unites Behind Issa's Tough Tactics on Benghazi, IRS Probes

Image: GOP Unites Behind Issa's Tough Tactics on Benghazi, IRS Probes

Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 07:52 AM

By Elliot Jager

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California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has kept pressure on the White House while garnering mixed reviews for his approach, McClatchy reported.

Under Issa's leadership, the committee has investigated the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups, the State Department's mischaracterization of the attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi, the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running program, and other administration blunders.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

But Republicans tend to give Issa high marks. Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Issa is likely "the most prominent Republican trying to understand the various ways this administration breaks the law. By force of intellect, personality and administrative skill, he will be one of the top 10-15 House Republicans the rest of his career," McClatchy reported.

Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who once headed the oversight committee, said Issa had pushed the envelope in making the Obama administration accountable for its actions.

"He's doing fine. I don't think he's overplayed his hand. Everything he does, he gets attacked by Democrats right off the bat. He's taken a lot of hits; it comes with the territory," Davis said.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., an oversight committee member said, "I think Darrell can't help but trip on himself and, ultimately because of hubris, always makes himself the issue."

Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, said, "Issa's propensity to overreach and sometimes exaggerate shifts the focus from the investigation to Issa. The fact that he hasn't gotten the goods at any point reflects poorly on the committee and its chairman."

Issa's defenders say that the investigations the committee has pursued under his leadership led to several resignations, including of Steven Miller, the acting IRS Commissioner, and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, in connection with the gun program.

Critics say the cost to taxpayers has been immense. The IRS, for example, has spent some $7.9 million on preparing for Congressional hearings and answering queries.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, an oversight committee member, said Issa is limited by what he can achieve as a committee chairman.

"He can't prosecute crimes, can't convene a grand jury and without the support of leadership can't even enforce a subpoena. He's got the bully pulpit," said Gowdy.

Issa, a self-made man who grew up in a working class Cleveland neighborhood, is probably the richest member of Congress, according to the Almanac of American Politics.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

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