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.
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.