By Lucas O’Connor / Issa Exposed / June 29, 2011
Darrell Issa is back in hot water for using his powerful Congressional perch to help his personal investments. A new report out today from Think Progress finds that Issa was busy last year buying up Goldman Sachs High Yield Bonds worth up to $50,000 a pop while pressing strongly to thwart an SEC investigation into potential wrongdoing at Goldman Sachs:
Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) raised hell last year to stop the federal government from investigating Goldman Sachs regarding allegations that the company defrauded investors. In April 2010, shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a civil suit against Goldman Sachs, Issa sent a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro demanding to know if there was “any sort of prearrangement, coordination, direction from, or advance notice” between the SEC and the Obama administration or congressional Democrats over the timing of the lawsuit.
Issa’s investigation of the SEC’s investigation into Goldman Sachs stole the headlines and reinforced Goldman Sach’s claim that they had done nothing wrong. Explaining his defense of Goldman Sachs, Issa said he was representing the views of ordinary Americans who are worried about the “growth of government and the growth of government wanting to become more complex, with more agencies and more control over our lives.”
This sheds additional light on Issa’s engagement in financial issues since taking over the Oversight Committee earlier this year, specifically reinforcing his strong resistance to any investigation or hearing that might reflect poorly on private financial institutions .
Issa has continued to bring heat on the SEC since taking over the Oversight Committee, targeting the Commission with one of the first subpoenas issued . The focus of his concern? Potential conflict of interest at the SEC arising from personal investments related to ongoing investigations. Of course.
Last month, subcommittee chair Patrick McHenry — bankrolled almost exclusively by the private financial industry — grilled Professor Elizabeth Warren for hours over the soon-to-launch Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ending with McHenry accusing Professor Warren of perjury. Issa has strongly backed McHenry’s behavior, and Warren will be back to testify again on July 14th.
Despite representing one of the districts hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, Issa has consistently refused to pursue private financial institutions in his investigations into ongoing economic turmoil, and Issa had made increasingly outlandish excuses as he has refused four separate requests from ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings to issue subpoenas to major mortgage banks implicated in fraudulent foreclosure practices.
Since Issa has previously shown no compunction about personally profiting from what he does as a member of Congress, and we know that Issa prefers to stack his hearings with personal friends and campaign contributors , today’s revelations go straight to the heart of Issa’s credibility in all of these investigations and non-investigations. How can Issa conduct any investigations or hearings without an assumption that he’s seeking personal benefit before the country’s benefit?