Issa under attack, despite consistency

| June 25 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Now that Congress is set to vote on holding the Attorney General in contempt, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa is under attack.  Columnists at the Washington Post have referred to him as a “headline-chasing publicity hound who never met an accusation too loopy to hurl” and to his investigation as a “witch hunt”.   Similar narratives are playing out over at the L.A. Times and The Atlantic as well.

But is all of this furor really because the Congressman is a slimeball politician pandering to an audience?

Doubtful.  Issa is in an extremely safe Republican district.  His campaign website is ancient and rarely updated.  He is unlikely to be able to get elected to statewide office in a state as liberal as California.  So what’s going on?

House Republican leadership isn’t entirely comfortable with the investigation either.  Rep. Issa just has little to lose if the investigation goes badly.  Republicans don’t have much room to maneuver in California, but his constituents will probably re-elect him regardless of the outcome.  So he can do pretty much whatever he wants.

Issa has often remarked that the investigation is really about a search for the truth about the operation and any cover-up that may have occurred.  It seems like it’s a claim that should be taken at face value.  Issa’s bio on Twitter says, “I also greatly enjoy an #OPEN, accessible & uncensored internet”.

Open access to information on the internet is a cause that Darrell Issa has worked extremely hard to advance.  He was  one of the primary opponents of the widely-detested Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  Issa also authored and introduced the OPEN Act in Congress after crowdsourcing suggestions on the actual text of the legislation at KeepTheWebOpen.com.

Unlike many pieces of legislation, a Senator did introduce the OPEN Act in the other chamber.  In fact, it was Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon.

It seems ridiculous that the most liberal elements of the media are trying to claim now that Rep. Issa is pursuing some sort of partisan witch hunt against the Attorney General.  Did anybody ever stop to consider the shocking possibility that perhaps somebody in Congress is just trying to do the right thing?  Investigating an issue like Operation Fast and Furious is highly consistent with the other work that Darrell Issa has done in Congress, which has been to make transparency a priority and make information more accessible.  Brian Terry’s family and the American people deserve to know what happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.  Nothing about calling for a serious investigation into this matter should be controversial.

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