Tech pros hit Issa for taking Park away from HealthCare.gov
November 10th, 2013
05:32 PM ET
5 months ago

Tech pros hit Issa for taking Park away from HealthCare.gov

Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET on 11/10/2013

Washington (CNN) - A group of technology experts has a message for Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican Oversight Committee chairman who last week disregarded the White House’s insistence that U.S. technology chief Todd Park is too busy to testify about his efforts to repair HealthCare.gov.

“Let Todd Work,” the group proclaims on a website launched after Issa issued a subpoena for Park to appear before his panel on Wednesday.


“Now, instead of continuing to fix HealthCare.gov (a mess he did not make), Mr. Park has to spend his hours preparing for his testimony,” declares the website on its homepage, before listing some of Park’s accomplishments.

“Mr. Park is a fantastic civil servant, who cares about making government more effective and accountable, just like Mr. Issa,” the group writes. “We hope that they can work together on solving the policies that enabled HealthCare.gov to fail in the first place. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, Todd is one of the good guys. Let him do his job.”

A little more than 200 people had signed up to support the website’s cause on Sunday afternoon. The site’s creators are three technology experts with ties to the White House: Clay Johnson and Adam Becker, two former Presidential Innovation fellows, and Michael Aleo, a former White House art director.

"I think Issa's subpoena was caused by a misunderstanding of who Todd Park is, and what his role was and is in this operation," Johnson told CNN.

"What on Earth did he have to do with it in the first place? He's trying to fix it, and to my knowledge trying to clean up somebody else's mess isn't worthy of a subpoena," Johnson continued.

After Issa’s initial request for Park’s testimony, the White House wrote back declaring the chief technology officer was too busy fixing the problem-addled health care portal.

“His testimony needs to be scheduled at a time that is less disruptive to that work,” Donna Pignatelli, the White House’s assistant director for legislative affairs, wrote last week, adding later that “pulling him away … even for a short time at this stage would be highly disruptive and would risk slowing the progress that has been made thus far to fix identified issues with the website.”

Issa, incensed, wrote back on Friday, using his power of subpoena to demand that Park show up before his committee this week.

“Your unwillingness to appear before the committee continues an unfortunate pattern of the current administration when it comes to matters of transparency and Congressional oversight,” Issa wrote in a letter to Park that was released to the media.


Filed under: Health care • Obama administration • White House
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Having spent more than seventeen years in the software business, I can assure you, this is not the guy writing code who will fix everything. If he is, why did we spend so much on so many people in the first place to write code if this ONE guy can fix it. This is exactly the guy I would be calling in to every meeting because he has the information needed real time to figure out what exactly went wrong, why and what all those countless people taking direction actually attempting to fix the code are doing. People at this level spend their lives in meetings...that's what they do.

    November 11, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. cumulus

    Yet you buy into the IRS scandal, benghazi, and nsa, enough said for rational adults

    November 11, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. tom l

    @Data
    Wouldn't Mr. Park have unique insight into just how messed up the original site was and wouldn't that then make his testimony quite valuable. He will be able to have an inside look into the functioning of the website and how it was built which can provide good information that we should want. Remember, this is our money that was spent on the website (which I know will be fixed eventually) but we should all want to know exactly how bad it really is and he can give us that information. I'm curious what you think from that perspective.

    November 11, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. tom l

    @Data
    Plus, this guy is at a level from 30,000 feet up. He's not rewriting the code nor is he one of those people that is rebuilding it. He is overseeing the clean up. If there is one guy on the "new team" that should be called to testify, wouldn't this be the exact right guy?

    November 11, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Tony

    tom l., just describe what you are talking about. If Republicans have new health care ideas, name them.

    November 11, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh!
    I thought somebody had finally hit Issa.

    November 11, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Tom L – I know you are really sensitive, so I will not be so blunt. Boehner and the republican congress are going to vote to allow right wingnuts to keep their junk policies, that are worthless if you get sick. That is the republican health care plan as of today, no other plan is forthcoming.

    November 11, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Issa could wait until the first week of December, but congress won't be in session, and he needs his time off.

    November 11, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The administration should have gotten the job done far, far better, so they can answer to why they failed.

    November 11, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess that pulling away the person in charge to answer a bunch of politcally-drive questions makes about as much sense as ignoring the research of hundreds of PhD Atmospheric chemists in favor of a few industry flunkies and gadflies that tell you what you want to hear. People that look for affirmation and not information will always find ways to prove their point, even if its at the expense of the society around them. Darrel Issa has no interest in finding the truth when edited testimony and screwing up the works accomplishes his goal so much more effectively.

    November 11, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    I cannot recall any time that a republican told the truth.

    November 11, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. the hippies were right

    @Tom I, here are some facts tell help you with your Climate Change skepticism. All legitimate scientists agree global warming is happening. The argument is whether it's natural or man made. The term "climate change" was coined by Fox contributor Frank Luntz. Google: "CO2 isotopes". Scientist can tell the difference between man made CO2 and "natural" CO2. Go to NASA Climate Change web site. NASA actually has sophisticated satellites with highly sophisticated equipment to gather data which the scientists can analyze and share with us. How many satellites do Rush and Hannity have? And what is there education and experience compared to these scientists? Funny how you skeptics have no problem assuming your opinion is on the same level as climate scientist. You "just don't think it's really happening" is quite comical!

    November 11, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. The Elephant in The Room

    Issa, Sebelius, Obama; all check your egos at the door; President Obama, less so.
    Look, the executive that Obama [the I can't write code President] was depending on to get Healthcare.gov correct and the person that should have been briefing him directly as his "rightehand" on this politically critical rollout SHOULD HAVE BEEN and STILL SHOULD BE a. ehhem, CODEWRITER. Issa can't do any good in an oversight role because he doesn't know how to manage the procrement, pricing, coding, development, design, creation, manufacture of a COMPLEX technical product. Instead of having lawyers on power trips trying to pretend they are qualified to be in charge, we'd be better off with more engineers in Congress, on the Federal Judiciary, and in the whitehouse. Mr. Issa, butt out please.

    November 11, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Hector Slagg

    Look Carefully,
    In hindsight there is no need to Subpoena anybody. Obama Care is so huge an undertaking there is no chance it will succeed. Getting all the young people to sign up is problem enough in itself. Think about it. over 300 million people trying to access the Web Site to get a new Health Policy that satisfies the New Regulations. What was already in existence although not perfect is the best that can be expected. The best thing is to repeal the law as it will fail anyway. !984 is not here yet and may never be.

    November 11, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. ghostwriter

    Tom, yes, republicans have put forth plans for healthcare. The most recent one was basically Obamacare, minus the mandate. All the goodies with no way to pay for them.

    As for these fake scandals, it has nothing to do with one's political persuasion. Or at least it shouldn't. Issa spent 2 years on Fast and Furious. He came up with nothing. Spent 2 years on Solyndra. Nothing. Spending two and a half years on Benghazi....nothing. 3 separate issues republicans said they could use to prove the Obama administration is doing something wrong. Didn't say what, but they could prove it. 5 years later, not one shred of evidence. But they are pushing on. Sorry, either you backed a really incompetent team or there's nothing to find.

    November 11, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. cumulus

    I have seen many programs where the prosecution kept critical information from defense attorneys, later to have found out, one man served 25 years. When the case was reopened because of DNA, the prosecution had ignored and hid information that would have cast doubt on his guilt, solution, hide and deny. In the end the prosecutor on the case was charged, found guilty,and sentenced to 10 days, he was at the time, a state judge. Issa knows he will.never face any real consequences for this and all his charades, too bad, he is as bad as the man I mentioned

    November 11, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The career criminal, Issa is just putting on another show for his lunatic followers.

    November 11, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Rusty Krus

    If you believe in karma, you realize that Issa will pay for all the wrong he has done.

    November 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Peace

    Oh! ya. They said many times that they will do whatever they can, how long it will take in order to make sure ACA is not implemented. This man Todd doesn't need any interference at all at this moment. His mind and his effort is centred in fixing the Website. Will Issa get out of his way and let this man do the quite important job for the people.

    November 11, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    tom l, if you want answers, don't ask Issa to get them. Please tell me how his wasting of taxpayer dollars dovetails with your stated desire for limited government? Do you think you can do that?

    November 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. luke,az

    The Feds need to subpoena Issa about his business dealings. This guy is dirty.

    November 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. just saying

    if the guy didn't want to come in front of congress to answer questions then he should have done his job right the first time! instead he's particicpated in one of the biggest government rollout failures/embarassments in usa history. only in the wastefull incompetent government world can the people claim they are too busy to answer for their failures. the clown should have walked to the door along with the people above him. but htis being the government, i'm sure they will all receive bonuses and promotions for doing it right the third or fourth time around.

    those that can, do. those that can't, work for the government.

    November 11, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Donna

    Obama simply refuses to hold people accountable. He is a failed leader that is afraid to hold others responsible for their failures. Not a single person has been held accountable in all of the Obama administrations failures and disasters over the last 5 years. Is it any wonder that all we get are more of them?

    November 11, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. American Code Jockey

    "We hope that they can work together on solving the policies that enabled HealthCare.gov to fail in the first place."

    I highly doubt they are going to address the number one issue that enabled the website to fail which is the H1B Visa program allowing incompetent workers from India to overwhelm our tech labor pool. The website would have worked fine had Americans written the code. But instead the companies that put the site together used cheap imported labor from a 3rd world country you wouldn't even buy a toaster from.

    November 11, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    @Tim

    Having spent more than seventeen years in the software business, I can assure you, this is not the guy writing code who will fix everything. If he is, why did we spend so much on so many people in the first place to write code if this ONE guy can fix it
    _________________________
    There are many roles; managers, supervisors, coordinators, code writers, testers, etc. What role did you play during your 17 years in software business, or you are the sole proprietor who did everything by yourself?

    November 11, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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