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Darrell Issa
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Having someone with the, shall we say, colorful legal history of Darrell Issa run the House Oversight Committee seemed like a sketchy proposition from the get-go. Issa's actual performance in the role has done little to inspire confidence. If he gives the impression of a mob boss doling out favors and punishments, that is because he has run the committee as something damn close to that.

So what to make of this?

Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) suggested in a letter he wrote to Issa on Tuesday that [Issa's recent policy change] was the political affiliation of the members.

“Although two previous Chairmen of the Oversight Committee followed the longstanding practice of referring matters involving Members of Congress directly to the Ethics Committee, you abandoned this practice last February when you issued a unilateral subpoena — your first as Chairman — demanding to see these Member files yourself,” Cummings wrote. “The documents produced in response to your subpoena reveal four previously undisclosed instances in which Members of Congress received Countrywide VIP loans. All four intances involve Republican Members, including three current Republican House Members and one former Republican House Member.”

Reps. Buck McKeon (R), Elton Gallegly (R) and Pete Sessions (R) received the previously undisclosed loans, representatives have acknowledged to various publications, while the remaining individual is unknown. The website of the National Republican Congressional Committee, headed by Sessions, seemed to have been scrubbed of previous references to Countrywide on Tuesday evening.

Cummings is referring here to Issa's recent decision to not publicly identify four Republicans (the three named above, plus one other) who received sweetheart VIP-only loans from Countrywide, which seems a bit of a reversal from Issa's previous zeal for publicly uncovering naughty, naughty lawmaker behavior. It is a bit curious, and Cummings' letter slams Issa (PDF) for the about-face.

But what strikes me most about the story: holy hell, it has been three years and then some since Issa "launched" his "investigation", and they still haven't gotten to the bottom of whether Countrywide having a separate program for giving public officials and other powerful figures sweetheart deals was, you know, a bad thing? What, are they conducting their investigation in a sensory deprivation tank? Are they conducting all the hearings in the form of interpretive puppet shows? Exactly how much "investigating" does this take, from Issa, and has he bothered to do a damn bit of it yet?

I don't know. Frankly speaking, everything about Issa screams "crook" to me, and always has, so I long ago got to the point of assuming that Issa's committee actions are designed solely for the self-promotion and profit of Darrell Issa himself. But I still manage to be consistently surprised by just how absolutely rotten Congress has become, how incapable they are of policing themselves, and how little they care when the rest of us notice those things.

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Comment Preferences

  •  time for the Ethics Committee and the DoJ /nt (8+ / 0-)

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:31:04 PM PST

  •  ugh, i can't stand this guy (12+ / 0-)

    i mostly see him on Bill Maher.  i remember the time he came dressed in a leather jacket like the Fonze.  i imagine that it was some kind of attempt to seem cool, but he can't hide the sleazy used car saleman that oozes out of him.

    i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

    by Anton Bursch on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:34:03 PM PST

  •  just a couple of reminders re Gallegly and (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Marie, polecat, Mayfly, Matt Z, cany


    Gallegly is retiring (yay!). Among his Democratic challengers are Steve Bennett and David Pollock.

    McKeon has a Democratic challenger, Lee Rogers, in CA-25. He's not retiring, and it'll be an uphill battle, but he should go.

    The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:46:53 PM PST

  •  Separate justice for all (8+ / 0-)

    Why does congress have the ability to disrupt criminal investigations, in the first place?

    Why do they get a separate system of investigation and punishment than the rest of us?

    Most of all how does a body that has such a low approval rating get to police itself?

    Oh, yeah...

    In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. Confucius

    by ToKnowWhy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:48:01 PM PST

  •  At least he opposes SOPA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Ender

    And they're all crooks - the only difference is whose pocket they're in.

    Any other week I'd be up in arms about this, but right now he and Ron Wyden can do whatever the fuck they want without making me mad.

  •  Hunter, Congressional perks are bipartisan. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, polecat

    "But I still manage to be consistently surprised by just how absolutely rotten Congress has become, how incapable they are of policing themselves, and how little they care when the rest of us notice those things.

  •  Fox guarding the henhouse... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Evolutionary, Gorette, Matt Z

    Couldn't begin to guess which was more corrupt, though.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:56:57 PM PST

  •  Another obvious example of the selective 1%'r (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    application of the law.

    We are only now a Nation of Laws for the less-than-rich.  With enough money, you can commit murder and get away with it.  There are plenty of examples.

    This scumbag "represents" my State.  He needs to be removed - promptly.  He is likely guilty of many crimes.

    His very own hen house.

    #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

    by Evolutionary on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:02:21 PM PST

  •  Sure, I trust anything Issa says... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Matt Z

    ...he can afford to be truthful seeing how he's worth some 450+ million dollars (maybe more). No one with that much money could ever be crooked.

    In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    by rreabold on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:03:02 PM PST

  •  What exaclty is a VIP loan? Do you mean people (0+ / 0-)

    with sufficient incomes  to qualify for a jumbo house loan unlike those who had no down payment, paid interest only, and lied on their income forms who should have NEVER been given a loan.

    •  Issa - Would a disappointment you are to (0+ / 0-)

      your party.   You promised a million investigations, and we hardly hear your name.   Pathetic!

      Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

      by egarratt on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:08:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, We Are Talking About People Who Got (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly, Gorette

      Preferential treatment on loans because they were "FOA" (Friends of Angelo Mozilo)

      Mozilo Tied to Loan to Top Lawmaker

      It was a 'bipartisan' deal, both Democrats and Republicans got such deals.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:37:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Better terms (0+ / 0-)

      lower interest rate, no points, no down-payment requirement -- compared not to dead-beats, but to people like me who despite having excellent credit had to scrape together 20%, pay an origination fee and points, and still didn't get the lowest interest rate.

      And then compare it with the many black and Hispanic borrowers who even though they (honestly, nonfrauduently) qualified for pretty good mortgage terms, were nevertheless given crappy ones with hidden fees, variable and higher interest rates, etc. and told it was all they'd qualified for.

      That's what "favorable treatment" means. It's a gift, or in other words, a bribe, to those in power.

  •  Don't Say "Congress" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pengiep, Mayfly

    It's not Congress, as a whole, that is corrupt.  It is the Republican members of Congress who are corrupt.  And they want everyone to think the entire Congress is uniformly corrupt.  It fits their narrative that "something is wrong with Washington".  They get elected precisely to demonstrate that Washington is irredeemable, so they go to Washington and behave like pirates in Tortuga to prove their point.  When people then generalize that behavior to all of Congress, it's QED.

  •  since the word 'investigation' appears, (0+ / 0-)

    here's another use:

    a case in which the timing is 'astonishing.'

    and reddit's reminder about SOPA-PIPA vote next tuesday is here, though it may seem OT, i'm putting all this under the aegis of 'transparency.'

    or 'sausage,' whichever works for you.

    Addington's perpwalk is the trailhead of accountability for this wound to our national psyche. (But go ahead and arrest Rumsfeld, too.)

    by greenbird on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:15:06 PM PST

  •  Whatever happens in DC, stays in DC IOKIYAR...uhuh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't be a hater!

  •  WHAT?! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Gorette

    What?!  Darrell "the formerly unprosecuted likely car thief" Issa may be doing unethical things with his power as a Congressman?! NO WAY! Nope, I REFUSE to believe it!

  •  No surprise that Pete "Taliban" Sessions' name (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is in this scandal.  There was a dead-tree (and sometmies on-line) story inthe DaMN about this:

    Also a blog item about how well Pete represents his district:

    Can we not be rid of this so-called "Representative" in the TX-32 (or whatever the hell number is for the new district the Texas Lege is fighting for in the Supreme Court)?  Pete spends his time raising and distributing money to defeat YOUR Dem. Rep., or to defeat your DEM. candidate trying to unseat a GOP Rep., in YOUR district, all over the country.  Pete is the Chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, committed to the GOP, to Pete, and little else except those who give him funds, and below-market loans or other mortgage considerations.

    WHERE is the DCCC in helping identify and support a candidate to "Beat Pete"?

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:29:28 PM PST

  •  We should privatize the House Oversight Committee (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, Nailbanger

    function because clearly this is another example of how Government is incompetent.

  •  Darrell Issa is a car thief and a common thug (4+ / 0-)

    He beat the shit of of people to steal their cars.  He did it as a juvenile and I'm all for rehabilitation, but there can't be rehabilitation without owning up.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:54:22 PM PST

  •  Rotten, yes. And Issa is an angry man. (0+ / 0-)

    You used to see him seething when Democrats were in control. He only works for party and the plutocracy, the other rich guys, though he's the richest.

    The investigation may be not resolved because if they were to say that these loans were not a bad thing they'd have to apologize to former Senator Dodd. Like they would. How they slammed him for his loan.

    The GOP has the most, the biggest, the worst hypocrites in recent times. How they manage to keep pretending they are somehow good guys is a puzzle.

    Yes, Darrell does remind one of a mob figure.

    How much was he worth when he entered Congress I wonder?

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 03:15:30 PM PST

    •  But why... (0+ / 0-)

      do all Republicans seem to be angry? And it the uber-wealthy ones, too! What's up with that?!

      In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

      by rreabold on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:33:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They hate president Obama. And they hate (0+ / 0-)

        liberals and Democrats and progressives too.

        They seem to always feel that Democrats have no right to govern and if we win elections they still believe that. They are not rational and reasonable people. Either devious, the smart ones at the top, or their followers who are not too bright. That's my belief after following politics for several decades, for what it's worth!

        Thanks for asking. Guess I needed to say that.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:38:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans were always... (0+ / 0-)

    better at "falling on their own swords" than Democrats.

    However after the Libby incident I bet many are rethinking that level of loyalty.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 03:43:00 PM PST

  •  hi, hunter... just one minor quibble with (0+ / 0-)

    your diary...

    perhaps this quote

    But I still manage to be consistently surprised by just how absolutely rotten Congress has become, how incapable they are of policing themselves, and how little they care when the rest of us notice those things.

    SHOULD have read like this...

    But I still manage to be consistently surprised by just how absolutely rotten Congress has republicans have become, how incapable they are of policing themselves, and how little they care when the rest of us notice those things.

    Is GlowNZ back yet?

    by edrie on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 03:49:44 PM PST

  •  In case you don't remember (0+ / 0-)

    Ryan Lizza did an excellent takedown of Issa in The New Yorker January 24, 2011.  I posted the link because there were just too many good things in the profile, all fact-checked too.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:10:14 PM PST

  •  Unbelieveable (0+ / 0-)

    Darrell Issa chairing an ethics committee, is like George W. Bush taking an IQ test.  What's the point?

  •  My letter to the local newspaper about Mr. Issa (0+ / 0-)

    I, unfortunately, have the dubious honor of living in  CA-49.
    I just wrote a letter to the local paper, the North County Times (northern San Diego county, about as red as it gets - which makes a green locust very lonely).
    Here's my letter. They print all that they receive from us locals (they are wonderful!), so it should appear in a few days.

    Rep. Darrell Issa began investigations 3 years ago into Countrywide Financial and the possibility that members of Congress got sweetheart deals. Mr. Issa called that "bribery' and "public corruption".
    Well, lo and behold, 4 names popped up, and they are all Republicans. Not surprisingly, Mr. Issa has ignored his own promises to make the names public, ignored his own procedures to deal with this "public corruption", and why?.
    Where is the justice. Mr. Issa? Not in your office, that's for sure. In there is only partisanship and self-promotion.
    America is in debt up to our collective eyeballs, just to mention one immense problem that we all share, and our Congressman refuses to work cooperatively with anyone and instead continues to act only for his party and himself.
    As long as he is in office, America will never be one people, one nation. With him, it's divide and stay in office.

  •  Not crook. (0+ / 0-)

    In Republican circles, the behavior you describe is that of an entrepreneur taking advantage, as he should, of opportunities presented to him. I really don't think Republicans view that kind of behavior as crooked.

    "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

    by psnyder on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 05:48:12 PM PST

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