HERSHEY, Pa.â€” Rep.Â Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall.
The California Republicanâ€™s daily denunciations draw cheers from partisans and bookings from cable TV producers. He even bought his own earphone for live shots. But his bombastic style and attention-seeking investigations draw eye rolls from other quarters. Now, heâ€™s making clear he wonâ€™t be so easy to shrug off if he becomes chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2011.
Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama.
At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.
â€œThat will make all the difference in the world,â€ he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. â€œI wonâ€™t use it to have corporate America live in fear that weâ€™re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.â€
In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep.Â Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration â€” a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.
Even if Republicans donâ€™t take the House, Issa has other ambitions. Those close to him say he is eyeing a potential run for a leadership post, even though heâ€™s a two-time loser for Republican policy chairman.
Issa also is trying to build his national brand, traveling to Pennsylvania for a summer Republican meeting. He basked in praise for his role in creating â€œJob-gate,â€ a mini scandal that forced the White House to admit that former President Bill Clinton tried to coax Rep.Â Joe Sestak out of the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania by offering him an unpaid job.
After calling the White House â€œcorruptâ€ and Obamaâ€™s presidency â€œfailed,â€ Issa reiterated his claims that â€” despite a contrary assessment from most experts â€” the administration violated federal law with the Sestak imbroglio.
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