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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 

Issa abandons transparency to cover up corporate influence

 

Bringing his hypocrisy to stunning new levels (again!), Issa slammed the Obama Administration recently for trying to improve disclosure practices. The Obama Administration proposal would require companies bidding on federal contracts to disclose their recent political contributions. To Issa, the chair of the Oversight Committee, requiring companies who are about to turn a profit on taxpayer dollars to reveal their political activities is a "purely political act." Of course it's exactly the opposite, but this has been Issa's perspective all along: transparency for those he opposes, no disclosure for his friends or himself.
 
So to organize what will presumably be a running scorecard of Issa's outlook on transparency: Issa should not have to disclose his own meetings with lobbyists, his political donors are consistently the best witnesses for his committee, major corporate donors get to waste tens of billions of taxpayer dollars without an investigation, it's perfectly fine for Issa to personally direct taxpayer dollars to boost his own net worth.
 
Meanwhile, some people are still expected to meet high transparency standards. All reporters and citizens should have to publicly disclose their information for tracking purposes in order to get information from the government. Voting to cut more than 93% of the budget for federal transparency programs, then criticizing those programs for not working as well as they should is a natural move for the co-founder of the Transparency Caucus. And after making every excuse in the book (and then some) when the Bush Administration failed to produce thousands upon thousands of emails (including some involving the leadup to the Iraq War) the Obama Administration should be preserving correspondence sent through the personal email accounts of staff members.
 
That scorecard paints a pretty clear picture. If you're rich, a corporation, or a Republican, Darrell Issa thinks that what you do with taxpayer money is nobody's business but your own. If you're an average citizen, government agency trying to meet transparency demands without promised resources, or a Democrat, even your personal activities should be subject to review by Issa.
 
Currently, we don't have any idea where these corporations receiving government contracts are spending this money or who might be benefiting in Washington.  Given Issa's track record of questionable benefit from taxpayer dollars and his ongoing refusal to disclose his connections to industry groups and lobbyists, at this rate we may never know -- at least not from his Oversight Committee.
 
Since Issa has been willing previously to personally benefit from earmarked taxpayer dollars, criticizing better tracking of the intersection between taxpayer money and political influence is a particularly brazen move. Since he hasn't investigated the billions wasted by big corporate contractors that also write big checks to Issa's own political accounts, this new development is just par for the course.

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