McHenry blocks Barney Frank testimony on Dodd-Frank
Oversight business will kick off after the recess tomorrow morning with a hearing on whether Dodd-Frank reforms of the financial sector have effectively ended 'too big to fail.' Stirring up the necessary acrimony and controversy, subcommittee chair Patrick McHenry refused to allow Barney Frank -- namesake of the legislation -- to appear at the hearing. McHenry, incidentally, has received major campaign funding from the banking and insurance industries and been called out for conflicts of interest after investigating banker bonuses after accepting contributions from Countrywide.
Rep. Issa: Investigate This Now
Last Saturday, the Courage Campaign helped organize a protest of the “Billionaire’s Caucus” -- a secret political strategy meeting hosted by oil conglomerate Koch Industries for big polluters, Wall Street robber barons, right-wing media personalities, and those who do their bidding in Washington. They’ve given tens of thousands to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and his new Subcommittee Chairs. And now he’s giving them an unprecedented opportunity to pad their profits at taxpayer expense. We will not let this stand.
The Koch Brothers and Darrell Issa
The web of financial support from the Right's heaviest hitters weaves all through Issa's personal career and the key members of his committee. All those heavy hitters are gathering this weekend to plan their strategy, and we can reasonably expect that Issa will be an important piece. Where an independent watchdog might be focused on investigating the deep influence of this unlimited money on our government and the policies that have created an ever shrinking middle class, Issa has taken the opposite tack. He's already thrown open the doors of the committee to allow many of the folks heading to Rancho Mirage the chance to rewrite their own rules. This weekend, they'll be working out what to do with the access.
Issa lives up to concerns at first hearing
So we have Issa using the committee website to post and disseminate his personal reaction to the State of the Union and his personal response to the Ranking Member, ignoring requests from the minority to also look into the private financial industry, and Issa breaking precedent and refusing to allow the minority party to offer opening remarks without warning. All following concerns from Ranking Member Elijah Cummings that Issa would inappropriately use committee resources for his own ends and would take unilateral action to squelch participation of committee Democrats.
Meeting the subcommittee chairs
More housekeeping: Darrell Issa began rolling out subcommittee chairmanships last week, further clarifying what the Oversight Committee will look like for the next two years. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) will take on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) will handle Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending. And Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10) will take the reigns on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs.