Rep. Issa hit with ethics allegations
A liberal advocacy group is filing an ethics complaint against Rep. Darrell Issa, alleging that the California Republican has repeatedly used his public office for personal gain.
The group, American Family Voices, is planning to file the complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) on Tuesday.
The five-page complaint, which was obtained by The Hill, accuses Issa of using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to add to his multimillion-dollar fortune.
An Issa spokesman on Monday said the allegations have absolutely no merit and are part of a smear campaign spearheaded by the White House.
The complaint alleges that Issa pressured the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to halt an investigation of Goldman Sachs shortly after he bought a huge stake in one of Goldman’s high-yield mutual funds.
It also claims Issa used his authority to improperly defend Merrill Lynch, a firm with “which he has a significant financial interest,” the document states.
“In fact and in appearance, Rep. Issa has repeatedly — and impermissibly — used his public position to promote his private financial interests,” Mike Lux, president of American Family Voices, wrote in a letter to former Reps. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and David Skaggs (D-Colo.), co-chairmen of the OCE.
A spokesman for Issa said the complaint is part of an effort orchestrated by the White House to discredit its critics.
“This complaint is entirely without merit. The White House has used an assortment of outside progressive groups in an effort to attack Oversight and Chairman Issa directly. This is just their latest salvo in an ongoing effort to obstruct oversight,” said Frederick Hill, Issa’s spokesman.
Issa, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, is the GOP’s chief investigator of the Obama administration.
After a shaky start as chairman, Issa has recently uncovered information that has attracted major headlines, putting the White House in a defensive mode.
One of Issa’s reports released in June found that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) used reckless tactics in the investigation of gun-running operations connected to Mexican drug cartels. The probe’s findings led to the resignation of Ken Melson, the acting head of the ATF.
On Monday, meanwhile, a group of House Democrats blasted Issa for not pursuing allegations that News Corp., the company owned by conservative media titan Rupert Murdoch, might have hacked phones belonging to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Lux rejected Hill’s assertion that the complaint is politically motivated.
“He’s basically saying that because we are progressives, the fact that Issa had interests in all these companies he was helping through his congressional office doesn’t matter,” Lux said. “The fact is that Issa has done things that are completely suspicious and there should be a thorough hearing of it.”
The complaint contends that in 2008 Issa improperly touted a merger between the Sirius and XM satellite radio companies while having a financial interest in Sirius though DEI Holdings, a company he founded and which bears his initials.
It further alleges that Issa secured millions of dollars in congressional earmarks to improve roads serving properties he owns, including a multimillion-dollar medical complex in Vista, Calif.
“The symbiotic relationship he has established between his business interests and public responsibilities presents, on a continuing basis, the starkest example of conflict of interest,” Lux wrote.
“As disturbing as this would be in the case of any member of Congress, the conflict on display here is especially troubling because it involves the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — a committee charged with ‘proactively investigating and exposing’ waste, fraud and abuse,” he added.
Lux cites a 3,080-word investigative report published in The New York Times on Aug. 15 and reporting by Thinkprogress.org, a liberal media outlet.
I am no fan of Darrell Issa, and these allegations deserve due consideration. I do recall the NYT’s story however, and I remember that they had to retract a number of their allegations.
I’m not sure what the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would have to do with allegations against Rupert Murdoch. I suspect that Mike Lux is the same guy who used to blog at OpenLeft. It’s nice to see he landed on his feet after OL closed its doors.
I find it interesting that The Hill got a copy of the complaint before it was filed. It’s as if *someone* wanted to publicize it. I wonder how that someone feels about the lack of media attention on the “Gunwalker” scandal?
Not mentioned in the story is this Mike Lux character was a member of the Obama transition team.
Update: It should comes as little surprise that Lux writes for the far-left cesspool Crooks and Liars. Here’s his byline in a piece attacking — wait for it — Darrell Issa! Just the other days he slobbered all over Obama at the Huffington Post. And he’s also a Kos Kid!
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