Issa Blasts WH for Defying Subpoena Calling for Obama Aide to Testify
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is slamming the White House after it defied a congressional subpoena calling for a top Obama aide to testify.
The White House claims that David Simas has immunity and therefore, is not required to testify at a hearing investigating the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.
Issa, who is chair of the House Oversight Committee, responded, “Flouting a federal judge’s opinion about our system of check and balances is yet another attack on our nation’s Constitution by this president.”
The statement continues, "We already know that two members of President Obama's Cabinet violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for political campaigning. Given these examples of known wrongdoing, assertions that this Administration's taxpayer-funded political efforts should be above Congressional oversight are absurd."
Administrations of both parties have maintained in-house political shops at the White House. A 2011 report by the independent Office of Special Counsel criticized a longstanding practice by both parties of using the political office for systematic, campaign-related activity.
Obama closed the White House Office of Political Affairs in 2011 but reinstated a slimmed-down version under the new name earlier this year. Issa has been demanding that the White House turn over all documents relating to the reopening of the office.
Senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes, said on America’s Newsroom that the White House has a “strong argument” to claim executive independence.
“Not all subpoenas are created equal. It’s one thing to subpoena somebody where there’s been evidence of actual wrongdoing, where you could point to some compelling interest to have that person appear and answer questions,” Hayes said. “It’s another thing when that evidence [has not yet] been provided or been made public.”
Hayes surmised that the White House will argue that the president needs to have the ability to consult with his advisers without looking over his shoulder in some instances.