Congressman Darrell Issa, the new oversight cop in Washington, will announce his first hearing tomorrow, and Politico's Mike Allen has reported that it will focus on the mortgage crisis.
We won't know what the scope of this hearing will be until witnesses and a narrower topic is announced, and we won't know whether it will turn into a full-blown investigation until Issa's Oversight and Government Reform Committee receives testimony and documents and decides whether or not it's interested in pursuing further study.
It's possible, however, that this will turn quite political.
If committee Republicans choose to investigate the preferential loans received by Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad from Countrywide--loans that embroiled both senators in controversy almost two years ago--that's exactly what will happen, as Democrats would likely take offense at scrutiny of their colleagues, initiated in Issa's very first oversight actions as committee chairman. The word "witch hunt" would probably be used.
Dodd left Congress at the end of 2010. Conrad, meanwhile, announced today that he'll retire.
A committee spokesman declined to comment on whether an investigation into the mortgage crisis would include looks at Dodd, Conrad, or Countrywide's scandalous program of special mortgage deals for influential people.