Thanks for the memories, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). You may not have managed to elevate every single two-bit conspiracy out there to the halls of Congress and into the actual House Oversight Committee, but you did your level best
In four years at the helm of the House of Representative’s primary investigative body, Darrell Issa launched major investigations into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative organizations, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms’ failed “Fast and Furious” operation, the bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, and the launch of Healthcare.gov.
All of which were marked by Darrell Issa never finding what it was he vowed he was going to find, though not for lack of trying. His fringe-theory-obsessed "investigation" into "Benghazi" was so humiliating to party leadership that they publicly pulled the plug on Issa, creating a new special committee headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
During the 2010 campaign Darrell Issa’s reputation was cemented on both the left and right. To Republicans, he was exactly the aggressive partisan cop they wanted on the beat. During their time in the minority, Republicans thought Congress was neglecting numerous investigations, including the “crony capitalism” exposed by the bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, the Justice Department’s purported inaction against the New Black Panthers for attempting to intimidate white voters, and Barack Obama’s ties to the community-organizing group ACORN.
Remember back when Fox News was soiling their pants nightly over the New Black Panthers? It feels like it was yesterday. It might even have been yesterday.
Issa’s dogged desire to investigate the executive branch is a recent development for the chairman. During the Bush administration, the California congressman used his perch to obstruct investigations, defend unethical acts, and attack those who dared to accuse a Republican White House of wrongdoing.
What caused this sudden shift from his longtime deference to executive acts to his current suppositions that the White House is personally involved in any supposed scandal that someone has once e-mailed him about? It is a mystery.
The rest of the piece is a good read, especially for picking apart how Issa operated the committee more as an outlet for oft-misleading press leaks than a legitimate investigative tool. He's term limited out from the chairmanship now—but will be replaced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who has been described as the most "Issa-like" of the Republicans who had jockeyed for the coveted post. Don't expect the committee to start Oversighting differently anytime soon.