US Government Oversight – Up for Bid

A site called Issa Exposed says the new chair of the US House Oversight Committee has asked corporate lobbyists for guidance on what he should investigate.

They point out he is calling for an end to earmarks, while he takes earmarks.

In FY 2007, Issa requested a total of $260,738,955 in what he later called “tantamount to a bribe.” It dipped a bit in FY 2008 to $112,570,000, but he rebounded strongly for FY 2009 with earmark requests totalling $214,367,000.

And, while “his biggest backer since entering Congress has been the health care and pharmaceutical industry” he criticizes 9/11 first responders for asking for federal health care assistance.

And let’s remember that it was just a few weeks after submitting those FY2009 earmark requests that he was trying to block health care for 9/11 first responders, saying “I have to ask … why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration.”

That is the first time I have seen anyone call al Qaeda’s terrorist attack in New York “primarily a state consideration”.

A labor blog has written a scathing open letter to Mr. Issa, where they point out the irony in an “oversight” official asking corporations for a list of regulations to weaken. A comment attached to their letter also makes an interesting point:

California Congressman Darrell Issa made his fortune as CEO of Directed Electronics, maker of the Viper and Python car alarms. He may have spoken to you sternly if you too closely approached a Viper-protected vehicle, as it is Issa’s recorded voice that announces, “Protected by Viper. Stand back.” Ironically, he was twice arrested for auto theft himself in the 1970’s, but never charged.

That turns out to be true:

Issa, 49, became a multimillionaire manufacturer of electronic auto alarms, including the popular “Viper” anti-theft device. “When people ask me why I got into the car alarm business, I tell them the truth,” he said in a statement to The Chronicle. “It was because my brother was a car thief.”

Issa was accused by the police of giving misleading and inconsistent information about the stolen car and his brother. He, in response, panned the police efforts to solve the crime, calling them poor investigators:

Issa told The Chronicle that he believed police had targeted him because “they always thought I was not coming clean enough essentially to (help them) prosecute my brother.” He blamed his brother for the San Jose arrest. […] William Issa’s attorney contended that no crime had been committed because Darrell Issa had offered to buy the Mercedes back from the dealership for more than the amount it had paid.

Why would he offer them more?

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