Issa Announces Hearings, Will Probe Fannie, Freddie, FDA, WikiLeaks


After making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows yesterday, incoming House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa today laid out his agenda for the next session of Congress and oversight of the Obama administration.

Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella told TPM that the hearing list so far would focus on these six topics: the impact of regulation on job creation; Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s roles in the foreclosure crisis; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the failure to identify the origins of the financial crisis; how to combat corruption in Afghanistan; Wikileaks; and issues of food and drug safety at the FDA. Issa also announced the lineup this morning on his Twitter account. Bardella also emphasized that there was a difference between holding a hearing on a topic and launching an investigation.Bardella’s outline said that Issa’s hearing on WikiLeaks would include constitutional scholars and White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. The hearing would examine the “constitutionally appropriate and technologically possible ways the Federal government can stop the dissemination of sensitive information on the Internet by organizations like Wikileaks?” Issa wants to determine if the administration has a strategy for combating and preventing the problem.

Bardella said the FDA was an “example of broken bureaucracy” and that a hearing would include FDA officials and others with first-hand knowledge of FDA failures.

For the Afghanistan corruption hearings, Issa would bring in “relevant Administration officials, non-government organizations concerned about the extent of corruption in Afghanistan.”

He’ll also have Financial Crisis Commissioners including Democratic chair Phil Angelides and former Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) in to discuss the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which Issa said will “release results that are biased, controversial, and highly partisan.” Thomas and his fellow Republicans on the commission issued their own report last month, largely blaming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without examining the other issues in the commission’s mandate to any great degree.

The Fannie and Freddie hearing will examine the underpinnings of the financial crisis, and the hearing on the impact of regulation on job creation will examine “indications that the Administration intends to try and bypass Congress by pursuing its agenda on issues such as energy and health care through the regulatory process.”

Issa’ counterpart, incoming Oversight Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told Politico said he would “draw a line at which any witch hunts or hearings that are conducted purely for partisan gains.”

Here’s Issa’s interview on CNN:

[Ed. note: This post was edited after publication.]