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Drama drama drama on the House Oversight staff

By Ed O'Keefe

Democratic staffers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seem to be spending more time on infighting instead of monitoring government operations, according to a new report by the Huffington Post:

The main dispute is between a subcommittee staff director and a subcommittee clerk, with partisans of each dragged into the dispute, according to emails reviewed by HuffPost. The clerk, who has been a Hill staffer for more than 35 years, is now the subject of a personnel complaint and could be terminated with the week, according to a memo she wrote to the committee's chairman, Ed Towns (D-N.Y.). "Jaron Bourke filed a personnel complaint against Jean Gosa. The complaint is currently under investigation. No decisions have been made," said committee spokeswoman Jenny Rosenberg in a statement to HuffPost, declining to comment further.
The clerk, Gosa, responded in a June memo to Towns with accusations that Bourke kept documents from the chairman and ranking member of the committee during one hearing, though the documents were provided to the press, according to emails signed by Gosa and obtained by HuffPost. Bourke, through an attorney, denies the accusations.

Democratic committee staffers called the story "unfortunate" in an interview with The Eye and said Gosa has been causing problems for her colleagues since Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) chaired the panel. She received a copy of a three-month investigation into her conduct last week and almost immediately forwarded e-mails to HuffPost, staffers said.

The article notes that the infighting comes as the committee's ranking member, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), "has been making a name for himself by targeting the White House in probe after probe."

"The panel has lost the media battle to Issa, a fight for attention that has real consequences: The more media attention one side or the other can win, the more likely it is the press will focus its attention following one side's preferred path," HuffPost writes.

But Democratic Staff Director Ron Stroman defended the committee's workload and focus.

"Look at the record -- the week before recess, the committee held a hearing on the implementation of Iran sanctions legislation, a full committee markup on at least three pieces of legislation, including giving subpoena power to inspectors general, over the objections of the administration," he said in an interview.

"Yes, you've got a Democratic committee and a Democratic administration, which is obviously different that if you had another party," Stroman said. "But if you look at the hearings we've done and the number of hearings we've done, I don't know how you could argue that we haven't been doing enough."

Kurt Bardella, an Issa spokesman, said Republicans are concerned about the potential manipulation of committee documents.

"Should further information come forward corroborating these allegations, an internal and bipartisan review would be appropriate," he said.

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This item has been updated and corrected from a previous version.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 10, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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Comments

With Bush gone, why is oversight even necessary? It's just waste!

Posted by: jiji1 | August 10, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Where was Mr. Issa, or for that matter any Republican concerned about oversight, during the Bush Administration? The overspending, the corruption and secrecy of the previous Admin have yet to be investigated by Congress or the 24 hour news cycle press. Issa is just a partisan hack complacent during the Bush days but so outraged by anything that even hints of malfeasance in the Obama White House.

Posted by: tmiker45 | August 11, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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