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Darrell Issa: If GOP wins House, corporate America can breathe easy -- UPDATED

As you know, Democrats are continuing to hammer away at Joe Barton's apology to BP, in order to make the case that if Republicans take back Congress, they'll side with big corporations and special interests against ordinary Americans.

But there's a quote from another House Republican that's largely gone unnoticed, even though it makes the case perhaps as well as Barton's BP apology does: GOP Rep. Darrell Issa effectively pledged that if Republicans take back the House, corporate America will be able to breathe easy.

The quote is buried in a Politico article about a recent speech Issa gave, in which he revealed he's planning to hire reams of subpoena-wielding investigators as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee if Republicans take back the House:

At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.

"That will make all the difference in the world," he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. "I won't use it to have corporate America live in fear that we're going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing."

While that quote stops short of a full-fledged promise to never probe anything corporate America does, it's nonetheless an extraordinary statement: It sounds like a pledge to go easier on big corporations.

Dems plan to aggressively highlight this in the days ahead as an additional data-point in making the broader case against Republicans. "Instead of focusing on holding big corporations like British Petroleum accountable, if Issa and Republicans have their way, as Chairman Issa would use subpoenas and an eighty person staff to launch tax payer funded witch hunts against the President," DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer emails.

"Just as we saw with Joe Barton, Michele Bachmann, and the 114 member Republican Study Committee's shameless defense of British Petroleum, Republicans' governing philosophy is to ignore gross misconduct from Republicans' corporate special interest backers."

The jury is still very much out on whether the Barton mess will fundamentally transform the political dynamic in Dems's favor. Dems are hoping it helps change the subject from Obama's handling of the spill to the consequences of GOP gains in Congress -- an effort to get voters to see the fall elections as a choice, rather than just a referendum on Dems. They hope the Issa quote will help them do that.

UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella emails that Issa "never said he wouldn't subpoena corporations."

"For anyone to try and push a narrative that Issa, as a Chairman, wouldn't pursue legitimate investigations that involve any company defies an already established record," Bardella says. "This is the same guy who led the investigation into Toyota, going so far as getting their CEO to testify before his committee, has been calling out GM for their deceptive ads and shredding of docs, investigated AIG's counterparty payouts, investigated Countrywide's VIP mortgage loan program, opposed bailout of corporate America, opposed bailout of auto-dealers and is currently investigating Johnson & Johnson."

"All that Issa was talking about was not using his authority to go on fishing expeditions targeting corporate America as was the case under Waxman. Just look at Issa's record so far. He has been very aggressive investigating cases where there is evidence of something to investigate."

By Greg Sargent  |  June 21, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers  
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Next: Under fire, Dem leaders standing by DISCLOSE act

Comments

Just saw on MSNBC the 114 members of the Republican Study Committee have a new name: The BP 114.

Sweet!!!

Posted by: itsme2 | June 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Re: BP 114... Reminds me of the joke: what did the Irishman say when he heard "Indianapolis 500"?

They're innocent!!

Posted by: Papagnello | June 21, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Note to Issa: HUGE.Political.Mistake.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Nice catch, Greg.

Have a good day, all.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

thanks, Bernie.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Here's my thing. I think in many ways Dems are screwing up some of their best attacks. I heard earlier today that they are going to pressure Barton to resign. Why do that when 1 it allows Repubs to say the whole episode was about scoring political points and 2 if he should happen to resign there's no way to use him to attack Repubs this fall? Similarly this statement is Kinch of ambiguous but it seems Dems are going to run with it. Why not instead push the media to get him to clarify the statement? Hell Repubs will say over the top and crazy things if folks will just ask them. If anything I'd expect Issa to make it even more evident he's a big business shill when HD clarifies. But acting like this is an open and shut case again let's him and the GOP off the hook.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

If the Republicans get subpoena it will be a complete disaster for the Whitehouse. Issa is an a-hole, but a very clever one. He financed and engineered the recall of CA Governor Gray Davis. Subpoena power in the hands of the GOP will mean endless absurd investigations: Sestak Gate, Acorn Gate, Foreign Apology Gate, William Ayers Gate, Flag Lapel Pin Gate.

Posted by: AdamantiumBeta | June 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Why do you think Republicans keep pushing "Tort Reform". They want to let Big Business do what ever they want to people, and get away with it.

The Republicans are Contract Hit Men, for The Robber Baron Oligarchs.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

sgwhite, I had the same concerns, till I started reading about the BP-114, which we started discussing on the last thread.

Check it out: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/104317-dems-mout-effort-to-label-members-of-gop-study-commitee-as-the-bp-114

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Keep Barton right where he is, as the Poster Child of Republicans in Bed With Big Oil, and Big Business, In General.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

In Praise Of Joe Barton:

He did such a good job of rescuing Tony Hayward, and in cleaning the oil spill off of his plumage, that, over the weekend, Tony was able to fly non- stop to the Isle of Wight.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Greg -

I wonder what else Issa may have said in his speech to the PA Repubs. Had to have been full of red meat, right?

Posted by: pollibido | June 21, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

WOW. Bill O'Reilly defends Obama to Michelle Bachmann on the escrow agreement. Jeebus, what is the world coming to?

On Friday, O'Reilly directly asked Bachmann if she thinks "Obama shook down BP" when he created the fund. The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative members of the House, released a statement last week calling the $20 billion BP escrow account a "Chicago-style political shakedown." Bachmann is a member of the RSC.

Bachmann replied that Obama had put pressure on BP by previously saying "that he wanted a criminal investigation," so BP officials thought "they would end up in the slammer" when they agreed to the fund.

O'Reilly responded that he thought Obama did the right thing "by putting maximum amount of pressure on these weasels."

"You gotta force these people to do it," he said, adding, "Come on! I'd go in there with a machine gun if I were President."

Video: http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/oreilly-grills-bachmann-on-escrow-fund-stance-youre-dodging-my-question.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

To hell with spending trillions on a quixotic manned mission to Mars.

Keep the Acronym NASA, but change what it stands for: North American Seas Agency.

The big pipe break in the Gulf has revealed that we can get men out to the Hubble telescope, but we can do almost nothing, just a mile under our own coastal waters.

That has to change. We need to have an Inner Space Race, to develop a government fleet of hi tech inspection and repair submersible vessels. We need to recruit and train a large group of Aquanauts, to work independently of the Oil Corps.

If government can not go down, and do surprise independent inspections of all pipelines, and be capable of repairing or plugging leaks, within a day after a pipe breaks, then we will keep on experiencing more of the same type of long lasting catastrophic spills, in the future.

As the polar ice cap is melting away, Russia is already preparing to go after the oil and mineral rights around the polar region.

Unless we focus on developing the equipment and trained personnel to compete with them, we will fall far behind, an never catch up. Once we cede the polar oil and mineral exploration and extraction to Russia, we will have lost them for ever.

Form a North American Seas Administration(NASA) and fully fund it now.

It is far more urgent and existentially important, than landing a few people on a dead planet.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"While that quote stops short of a full-fledged promise to never probe anything corporate America does,. . ."

Ya think?

". . . it's nonetheless an extraordinary statement: It sounds like a pledge to go easier on big corporations."

easier than issuing draconian subpoenas in the wake of Obamacare for purposes of punishing corporations for complying with their accounting obligations under the securities laws?

Or was that okay because even Waxman was forced in shame to withdraw them?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

All, check out this new internal memo Dems are distributing on the DISCLOSE act:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/under_fire_dem_leadership_stan.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Republican Party's Rallying Cry:

BP is The Victim, and the residents of the Gulf Coast should stop preying on them.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought by now that even the lunatic left would have figured out that it is the corporations they so revile whose profits fund our mutual funds, 401K funds, government pensions, private pensions, etc., etc., etc. Does the left actually believe that any of those funds buys into SEIU, PETA and the ELF? Why do we continually seek to destroy our own futures?

Posted by: meljane | June 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

meljane, I would have thought by now that even the ridiculous right would have figured out that it is government that they so revile which provides clean water, paved interstate highways, law enforcement and fire protection services. Does the right actually believe that if these services were left to be provided by private corporations, we would still be able to call 911 and not get a bill afterward?

Modern society needs certain goods and services where the goal of earning a profit cannot and should not be the primary objective. Corporations do nothing if there is no profit. Clean water, safe bridges, and yes health care are three examples where providing the service should take priority over earning a profit. I do not subscribe to the theory that if you cannot afford the health care you require, you should just die. Call me a liberal if you must.

I would ask right wingers why they continually seek to destroy our futures. They demonize government and labor unions which are the main tools that the ordinary person has to counter the influence of the BP's, and Enrons of the world.

Posted by: anthony002 | June 21, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Joe Barton & the GOP, well done sirs! How dare the kenyan born barry HUSSIEN obama speak up to, or even question the hard working BP executives. As a muslim, and a communist, he was already predisposed to attack the brave men from BP who were forced to attend this shakedown at the Oval office. GOP Congresswoman Michelle Bachman is RIGHT, this is simply a re-distribution of wealth to the "small people". It is long past time to take back our WHITE House as Dr. Rand Paul says. Lets all agree to hold obama responsible for this mess in the Gulf until he and his liberal cronies clean up the disater they made. Lets band together as Americans and demand that the US Military remove the kenyan. Then the Supreme Court can appoint Jeb Bush as President (just like 2000 <;-) and Mary Cheney VP. Jeb is a family values guy. Mary will fight like her Dad to keep gays out of the Army! And remember, even more important than the obama oil fiasco in the Gulf, call your congressman and get those Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy extended! It's that important. Even if your a small person.

Posted by: Bush2 | June 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Wishful thinking. The GOP is NOT going to the win the House. The majority of Americans are not that stupid, or that crazy to allow this to happen.

Left and Moderate thinking voting Americans will be at the polls in droves come November to ensure that that does not happen.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | June 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

With widespread disappointment with Obama, the Democrats in Congress being their usual partisan selves, favoring their special interest groups, and high unemployment, the Republicans should be able to win at least a net thirty seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate.

But the Republican party is no longer the Republican party of Eisenhower, Earl Warren, Ford, Reagan, let alone Lincoln, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert LaFollette. The contemporary "Republican" party is a combination of a Corporate and Know-Nothing party.

The result will be a maximum gain of twenty seats in the House of Representatives. They will mostly replace conservative Democrats, which will allow Pelosi to exercise more discipline in her party ranks.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | June 21, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah wasn't it the Obama admin that rushed BP's permits? Isn't Obama in bed with BP? Not that Bush didn't give Wall Street the keys to the city but let's get real.
Yes the GOP CAN take the house, not because they are the GOP but because they are not Dems.
Read the polls, they hate you.
Inside the beltway you can not see the tidal wave coming, everyone keeps reassuring everyone (see the bloggers here).
Look at Angle, no way she can win eh?
11 point lead.
Obama is a Chicago politician, not a genius.
What idiot advisors let him play Golf while the Gulf crisis continues?
Be advised that the health care bill is heading on the rocks. Why?
Dudes it is wildly unconstitutional.
really! Don't trust the same morons that told you DCs gun ban would stand scrutiny.
Change is coming, change that the left won't believe in.

Posted by: Saladin3 | June 21, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear Greg,

How are jobs created? Is it the government? Is it Obama? Is it just serendipity? oooooo the bad Republicans want private corporations to do well so that jobs can be created. That's bad. Bad bad bad. This is like reading from a kindergarten book. The level of understanding of the way wealth and prosperity is created is so wanting at the Post. Their writers are writing from the sandbox. Dolts.

Posted by: lavistabb | June 21, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Mass scale DemocRat INCARCERATION!!!!!!!

Posted by: theaz | June 21, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Left and Moderate thinking voting Americans will be at the polls in droves come November to ensure that that does not happen.

Posted by: lcarter0311

There's not enough of you loony toon idiots, so it's really not going to matter.

Posted by: cschotta1 | June 21, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Q. What happens if the GOP wins the house?

A. Nothing, just like before.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | June 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Dishonest by-line. Your job is to report actual statements, not your interpretation.

OK, folks, let's crucify, overtax and demonize the very organizations that employ American workers. That should keep them on American soil. And while we're at it, turn the management over to the government/unions.

Posted by: bethg1841 | June 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the Democrats will have won when they take the companies that provide the REAL jobs (not temporary low paying service jobs) and make them either stay away from the U.S. or simply nationalize them. Then those heroic figures who fight for the "common man" can tell the common man that he elimenated his/her job for their sake and that now he/she can become a ward of the state as ran by an elite, intelligencia that has never had to work for a living or provide for others. There is a balance somewhere but the reality of the fact is that if those terrible, mean, utterly sinful big companies weren't out there the Democrats would starve because the rest of us that work for a living would not have a job to pay the taxes for those that exist on the entitlement programs the Democrats lure them to their voting booths with. So get a grip, let reality come into your life and quit this partisan crap you call journalism.

Posted by: staterighter | June 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the Democrats will have won when they take the companies that provide the REAL jobs (not temporary low paying service jobs) and make them either stay away from the U.S. or simply nationalize them. Then those heroic figures who fight for the "common man" can tell the common man that he elimenated his/her job for their sake and that now he/she can become a ward of the state as ran by an elite, intelligencia that has never had to work for a living or provide for others. There is a balance somewhere but the reality of the fact is that if those terrible, mean, utterly sinful big companies weren't out there the Democrats would starve because the rest of us that work for a living would not have a job to pay the taxes for those that exist on the entitlement programs the Democrats lure them to their voting booths with. So get a grip, let reality come into your life and quit this partisan crap you call journalism.

Posted by: staterighter | June 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Talk about not getting it

"How are jobs created? Is it the government? Is it Obama? Is it just serendipity? oooooo the bad Republicans want private corporations to do well so that jobs can be created. That's bad. Bad bad bad. This is like reading from a kindergarten book. The level of understanding of the way wealth and prosperity is created is so wanting at the Post. Their writers are writing from the sandbox. Dolts.

"Posted by: lavistabb | June 21, 2010 2:18 PM"

Your whining would carry some legitimacy is those blithering GOP elected officials weren't part of the same government they caterwaul can't get anything right.

Anything, that is, except those same elected officials' congressional pensions and taxpayer subsidies of their health insurance premiums and health care costs.

In other words, "govt. jobs" isn't such an insult when it's the elected, anti-government, allegedly "pro-free market" types drawing a government paycheck and pension, like Sharron Angle.

When those elected officials who blather "govt. is the problem, not the solution" immediately give up their pensions and taxpayer subsidies, and work for free, then get back to us.

While the Republicans will make gains in the House, they won't regain the majority, as all the Dems have to do is run ads referencing the numerous corporate abuses that have wracked this nation during the Bush Jr/Cheney years, asking if the voters prefer more govt. regulation of big business, or less, then morph the GOP candidate's face into those of the teabagger Gods, Bush Jr and Cheney.

And regarding Issa, this article gives lots of information about Issa's predilection for recognizing criminal behavior, something he apparently knows first hand about

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/06/25/ISSA.TMP

If, for whatever reason the link doesn't work, or come through completely, just google the San Francisco Gate's headline,

"Issa was charged in San Jose car theft"

A truly enlightening read.

Posted by: kingcranky | June 21, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

If the GOP wins nothing will change. It will be the same old nonsense. One side blaming the other whenever anything goes wrong, using peoples emotions and prejudices against them so the chattering class and politicians can enjoy their privileged lifestyles. So they can steal tax money that people like myself work for and channel to their friends and supporters through do-nothing organizations. This will enable these elites (mostly lawyers) to continue to endlessly run their mouth about subjective, fictitious "problems" so when a tangible problem, like changing a tire, or defending a boarder, or plugging a hole comes along; who to blame supersedes the real point that the "powerful" are powerless. Why do you think Pres Obama went and played golf. He knows that he, or any of our other "leaders" have no clue what to do. In the mean time some of you hurl insults at people like myself calling me a "teabagger" or some something else crude or vulgar just because I'm tired of paying 50% of my income to people who belittle me and squander the money for their own ego-driven gains. Or I'm called a socialist if I think the head of BP is an elitist of a different sort who failed to protect his company and it's shareholders from this disaster, and just like the politicians think that taxpayer money is some unending entitlement, this CEO seems to think shareholder money is insignificant. No, it's all one big game. It's like Professional Wrestling, there is a lot of drama, but it's all for show; the outcome was predetermined in the locker room before the match.

Posted by: naughtiusmaximus | June 21, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

RNC, do you pledge allegiance to the Flag or do you pledge allegiance to the Corporation?

I think we know-and that's why we should dissolve your political party.

Posted by: rousch15 | June 21, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Government alone cannot provide jobs needed to create a vibrant economy. In fact government cannot obtain the resources for paying for jobs without people with private sector jobs paying their salaries. You stupid vapid "journalists" are so undereducated you like your savior Obama have no clue where and how money is made or where tax money comes from for that matter. You are too busy acting like a juvenile, stamping your feet and wailing about how unfair the world is. Get a grip and grow up. We need adults in government and in media. I can see November from my house.

Posted by: lavistabb | June 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Note to Issa; Dude, where's my car?

Posted by: hoser3 | June 21, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: Kudos to you for printing Issa's response - that basically eviscerates your entire post!

"For anyone to try and push a narrative that Issa, as a Chairman, wouldn't pursue legitimate investigations that involve any company defies an already established record," Bardella says. "This is the same guy who led the investigation into Toyota, going so far as getting their CEO to testify before his committee, has been calling out GM for their deceptive ads and shredding of docs, investigated AIG's counterparty payouts, investigated Countrywide's VIP mortgage loan program, opposed bailout of corporate America, opposed bailout of auto-dealers and is currently investigating Johnson & Johnson."

Posted by: sbj3 | June 21, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The only jobs Wealthy and GOP Create are in countries like China were dictators and commies let them have slaves the only jobs they leave here can't be outsourced to other countries slaves, but can be outsourced to illegals immigrant slaves.The only jobs Democrats create are government jobs to keep people on wealth fare.I think both are failed systems.Rich vs. Poor but let's just ignore middle class until election when we play tug of war.Corporate welfare vs Government workers welfare.We need more choices and better ideas than the repeated GOP/DNC failures for 30+ years.Middle Class is the class that creates jobs for Rich,Middle Class,and Poor.More Middle Class means more wealthier a nation with higher standard of living.When you have more rich,you have more poor,than you have nothing.Money is supposed to be tool to create ideas,better standards of living,move products and goods around.It doesn't matter if the Wealthy(Corporate/Banks) or our Government takes it all,if either do that's less money(tools to use) to circulate around for the rest of us.Corporate Greed vs Government Greed can't continue.Either way both are using our money as taxpayers or investors to Banks or Corporations to make themselves richer and their own better off at our expense with our money.It needs to end.

Posted by: faeyth | June 22, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

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