Hundreds of Investigations of Obama Administration on the Horizon

Darrell Issa announces plans for seven hearings a week, 40 weeks a year

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Rep. Darrell Issa can barely conceal his excitement at the thought of the hundreds of investigations into the Obama administration he'll oversee as the new chair of the House oversight committee. Issa wants his seven subcommittees to work at a pace of one or two hearings a week--meaning "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks," the congressman told Politico's Jake Sherman and Richard E. Cohen.

It's a rate almost triple that of Rep. Henry Waxman when the Democrat was digging into the Bush administration. (Waxman held 203 hearings over two years, Issa is gunning for 280 in the next year.) "As Clint Eastwood says, a man needs to know his limitations," Issa said. The California Republican says his committee's job is to "measure failures," though "oversight should be done with a balance for the American people and not as a gotcha." Issa's already called Vice President Joe Biden about oversight of the stimulus. (Whether any of these potential mini-scandals will become fodder for impeachment of the president remains hotly debated.)

  • Four Big Targets for Issa, TPM's Ryan J. Reilly and Johanna Barr report. The New Black Panther Party's voter intimidation case, the job offer made to Joe Sestak to get him out of the race for Senate in Pennsylvania, ACORN, and Obama's response to the BP oil spill, about which "it's been suggested that Issa has a leg to stand on when it comes to this issue."
  • Well, Maybe He Won't Go After Sestak After All, Digby writes at Hullabaloo. In May, Issa's campaign sent an email to supporters claiming Bill Clinton's offering Joe Sestak a job to entice him into dropping out of his race against Arlen Specter could add up to three felony charges; last week, his spokesman said Issa doesn't plan on issuing subpoenas to those involved because it would look like a witch hunt. "I don't suppose the fact that the Republicans are openly bribing Joe Manchin to switch parties (just a day after it was reported that he was going ahead) might have anything to do with his sudden change of heart," Digby writes. "After all, he's a man of principle."
  • Proceed With Caution, Ed Morrissey warns at Hot Air. Issa's investigative ambitions, while a "nightmare scenario for Democrats" won't surprise "anyone who’s paid attention to Issa’s efforts to get transparency from an administration with more czars than the Romanovs," Morrissey says. "However, Issa will have to make sure that his investigations don’t outpace the House GOP’s performance on issues, especially on the economy. If his probes produce blockbuster media coverage while economic policy and spending cuts stall in the House, voters could get the impression that the Republicans are more interested in gotcha efforts than in addressing jobs and economic growth — the same problem that Democrats created for themselves by spending months on a health-care bill few really wanted while jobs and the economy stagnated."
  • Expect Global Warming Drama, The New Republic Bradford Plumer writes.  "In the House, we still don't know what fate awaits Nancy Pelosi's special global warming committee—which Ed Markey mainly used to hold hearings on arcane energy issues and to take members on climate-related educational trips (visit the melting glaciers, etc.) Upton wants to disband it. But the panel's ranking Republican, Jim Sensenbrenner, has suggested he might want to use it to 'investigate' the science of climate change.  .... Issa wants to launch yet more inquiries into those Climategate emails in an attempt to prove some sort of scientific conspiracy—even though plenty of independent reviews have concluded that there's nothing there."
  • But Hey, At Least He'll Leave Baseball Players Alone! Reason's Matt Welch rejoices. Issa's spokesman said the congressman has no interest in figuring out which professional ball players are on the juice. "It's the small victories, sometimes," Welch writes.
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