Darrell Issa: The Bulldog on Obama’s Pantleg
By Tucker Scofield
|Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow: Facebook Twitter
Darrell Issa is a man with a lot on his plate.
As House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman, the Obama administration has kept Representative Issa (R-CA) busier than Octomom at feeding time. Issa and his committee are investigating a laundry list of topics that include accountability for TARP, regulatory impediment of jobs creation, waste and abuse within federal spending, the foreclosure crisis, politicizing government procurement, and suppressive policies for American oil and gas companies to name but a few.
Over the past few months, two specific topics being investigated by the ORG have piqued my interest: “Operation Fast & Furious” and Boeing’s fracas with the National Labor Relations Board.
Most recently, Issa and Team have been investigating Operation Fast & Furious, the multi-agency operation that put approximately 1,500 guns in the hands of Mexican criminals in a supposed attempt to track those guns across the border. To hear tell, the idea was to land the granddaddies of Mexican crime rather than tagging the little fish that do their dirty work. Primarily implemented by the ATF, Operation Fast & Furious (aka “Project Gunrunner”) is also said to have involved the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Justice. Post-mortem, the program is rife with accusations of intentional omissions of crucial information between agencies along with a possible cover-up by the DOJ. The operation was a miserable failure and resulted in dozens of deaths, with at least one being an American border agent.
Much of the attention being given Operation Fast & Furious revolves around exactly what US Attorney General Eric Holder knew, and when. Over the July 4th weekend, Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) interviewed ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and then sent a letter to Holder that included the following: “The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities.” At the very least, Melson’s testimony seems to indict Deputy Attorney General James Cole for obstructing Congress and engaging in a cover-up to prevent Congress and the public from realizing the full involvement of Holder and the DOJ in what was becoming a full-blown scandal.
In a July 7th interview on Fox News’ “Special Report”, Issa explained to anchor Brett Baier that the stated goals of the operation were shaky at best. Although the ATF was told to follow the guns to the bigger fish, the DOJ, through the DEA and other agencies, already knew who these people were and in some cases, had paid informants within their organizations. Further, with the exception of two cases, there was little or no effort made by the ATF to actually track the guns across the border. As for whether Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the program, Issa claims “It certainly goes to the highest levels of Justice…it’s [Assistant Attorney General] Lanny Breuer’s area of Justice that has to authorize wire taps and other activities. And of course, controlling a task force that included DEA, FBI, and elements of the US Attorney’s office again has to go to the top levels of Justice. So we know it goes there.”
As for allegations that the program was a blatant effort by Holder and the Obama administration to create another crisis around which gun rights could be seriously curtailed or eliminated, Issa would only say that the Bush administration – a pro-gun’s rights administration in every way – was exponentially tougher on enforcing gun laws that the Obama administration. “Under this administration there seems to be a ‘don’t bother to enforce at all’ policy,” said Issa. “There’s less gun enforcement about illegal gun transactions under an administration that theoretically is more for gun control.”
Holder’s audacity is only surpassed by his good friend and president, Barack Obama. Together, they have wiped their fannies on the rule of law as they use the DOJ to carry out their personal vendettas. It therefore gives me great joy to see Chairman Issa pushing back hard on these modern-day “untouchables” and giving them reason to stay awake at night.
The other investigation of interest is the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against Boeing. Boeing’s main plant is in Everett, WA, a part of the greater Seattle area, and is a mandatory union facility (you must be a union member to work there). The Everett facility has been the victim of crippling strikes over the past few decades, strikes that have delayed aircraft deliveries as well as the development and shipment of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. At a cost of anywhere from $750 million to $2 billion depending upon your source, Boeing opened a second facility in the right-to-work state of South Carolina. The North Charleston facility is intended solely for the construction of the Dreamliner; it created 9,000 jobs during its construction, it will employ 4,000 at peak capacity, and unlike so many other companies over the past few decades, Boeing chose to keep this facility in the United States. Further, Boeing has no plans of slowing operations in Everett. In fact, since 2009 Boeing has added more than 2,000 unionized workers to their Everett payroll.
In spite of those facts, the International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) chose to file a complaint through the National Labor Relations Board against Boeing in an attempt to prevent them from opening the new facility. The complaint contends that Boeing’s new facility was built in part to punish union workers for striking. Of course, it doesn’t seem to matter that those same union workers have punished Boeing with five strikes since 1975, costing the company $1.8 billion in 2008 alone.
Because the president appoints the labor board, the unprecedented action by the NLRB is seen by many as an attempt by the president to reaffirm his support of Big Labor while simultaneously punishing right-to-work states. I had to laugh when I read that Issa suggested the elimination of the NLRB, or statutorily changing its function at least.
Meanwhile, Issa is considering subpoenas for documents related to the NLRB’s complaint, documents he has repeatedly requested but has been denied to this point. A group of law professors wrote Issa at the end of July asking that he not issue subpoenas, saying it would jeopardize due-process for both parties in an ongoing legal proceeding. No word yet as to Issa’s decision on that matter.
And for the record, Boeing opened their new facility mid-June in defiance of the NLRB. Somebody tell me how that’s bad….
Tucker Scofield’s writing is shaped by his extensive business travels in the manufacturing sector. He is also a musician, a daddy, and a husband. His articles appear weekly at www.TheDCPost.com and he can be reached at email@example.com or t.scofield@TheDCPost.com