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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 

Issa flip flops again (a few times) on email transparency

 

Back in November, the day after election day, House Republicans were riding high on retaking control of the chamber, and Darrell Issa was officially the heir apparent for the House Oversight Committee. Amid all the partisanship, Issa sounded a decidedly different tone, declaring proudly that his investigations would include the Bush Administration. “The enemy is the bureaucracy," he said, "not necessarily the current occupant of the White House.”
 
Since then, Issa has stopped pretending and gotten back to old form. In today's edition, Issa convened a hearing of the Oversight Committee to examine the intersection of the Presidential Records Act and social media and personal email accounts. He take this so seriously that he told Media Matters a few days ago that Obama's level of transparency on this issue is where the President has failed the most.
 
Nevermind that not a single thing about how Issa runs his office or committee has been transparent, from refusing to disclose his meetings with lobbyists to resisting calls to release the corporate suggestions for hearings. He even voted to cut more than 93% of the administration's budget for online transparency before criticizing its shortcomings.
 
Indeed, Issa has been concerned for quite some time about email practices in the White House, but his concern mostly depends on what party is actually occupying the White House at a given time. For example, He was very concerned about Obama administration emails last year even before he actually picked up the gavel, but as Media Matters confirmed he remains steadfastly defensive of the untold millions of emails that the Bush Administration "lost," including emails from the leadup and beginning of the Iraq War. Not only does that not warrant Issa extending his investigation of the issue back to the Bush Administration, neither apparently does this:
 
Perhaps most startling of all, the Bush Administration managed to dismantle, apparently on purpose, the Clinton Administration's email archive system -- which worked just fine -- without replacing it with anything at all.
 
Maybe the easiest way to put this in perspective is a simple thought experiment. If it had been George Bush whose staffers used social media and personal email accounts to possibly conduct business, and Barack Obama had presided over the dismantling of a perfectly functional archiving system, replaced it with nothing, then failed to produce millions of emails including those that directly address the beginning of a controversial trillion dollar war that killed thousands of Americans -- which would Issa be investigating first?
 
We can actually answer part of that thought experiment directly. Because Bush Administration officials did have their own scandal centered on improper use of personal email accounts -- email accounts with the Republican National Committee no less. What was Darrell Issa's take on this? Considering his claim that his enemy is the bureaucracy and partisanship doesn't enter into it?
 
ISSA: Well, but is there any evidence that any of you have that there is official government presidential records there? Or are we simply going on a fishing expedition at $40(,000) or $50,000 a month of campaign funds at the RNC because we have the power of subpoena?
 
Maybe not in 2007, when Issa's friends were in the White House. Now that there are partisan points to score, Issa has abandoned his own standard once again, shamelessly flip-flopping to maintain his partisan agenda. The strangest thing is that he would be so unrepentant about it -- as though the "IT expert" doesn't know all of these statements actually have been archived for posterity.

1 comments

Reader Discussion

Nothing these republicans and especially Issa do will be worth a darn. If and until they start being honest and decent which they won’t the GOP will just continue to do nothing for the good of the country.  They were elected to get things done for the economy and to create jobs.

at 3:21 pm on Tue, May 3, 2011Posted by Vick

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