House GOP “exporting the Issa model” in holding Obama accountable

Issa subpoena power

House Republicans are set to expand the subpoena power of a number of Committee Chairman in an effort to put more pressure on the Obama Administration and the various departments under investigation, a move one Democrat staffer said was tantamount to “exporting the Issa model to the rest of the House.” That comment refers to the power California Republican Darrell Issa wielded as Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during investigations into “Operation: Fast and Furious” and the IRS scandal.

POLITICO reports:

The change means that, in a break from years of tradition, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) wouldn’t need to consult with his panel’s top Democrat before subpoenaing documents or witnesses about issues like Obamacare or the Environmental Protection Agency. The GOP is also proposing similar boosts in authority for Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), whose panel’s jurisdiction includes the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, and for Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who will oversee any probes into immigration.

Two other panels — Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology — are considering making the same change. And in a similar move, the House passed a rules package last week that gave the energy, science, finance and Ways and Means committees the power to let their counsels hold depositions in private.

Democrats are outraged, calling the move a “power grab,” but the House has, over the last several decades, continually ceded power to the Executive Branch to make law by government regulation and decree. Frankly, it’s about time the House muscle some of that power back.

The Obama Administration has repeatedly stonewalled Congress by refusing to release important documents relevant to Congressional inquiries. Most recently, the Obama Administration refused to release information pertaining to the release of three Cuban spies.

That’s not all. Judicial Watch, a non-partisan government watchdog organization, filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests pertaining to a number of Congressional investigations and had to sue to on a number of occasions. In the “Fast and Furious” scandal, the Obama Administration asserted that Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife had executive privilege.

In their report, Judicial Watch reveals:

The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal.  Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act.  The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline.  In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”

It’s unlikely that Congress will pass many bills the President will sign in the next two years; however, their power to subpoena and investigate the Obama Admininstration will act as a strong check against the Obama Administration.


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