Washington (CNN) - Two Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have asked the panel’s chairman to withdraw his Obamacare subpoena of the White House chief technology officer, according to a letter sent Monday.
In the letter released to reporters, Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Gerald Connolly of Virginia called Rep. Darrell Issa’s subpoena of Todd Park “unnecessary and misguided,” and said it was part of a “predetermined political strategy rather than a constructive effort to conduct responsible oversight.”
The California Republican subpoenaed Park on Friday, saying he had refused to testify at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday on the rocky rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.
“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.
Connolly and Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight panel, argued that Issa mischaracterized a proposed delay by Park in testifying as a refusal to do so.
“When Mr. Park received your invitation to testify, his immediate response, as conveyed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, was to agree to testify before the Committee, but to request a short delay while the lion’s share of fixes to Healthcare.gov are being implemented in November,” Cummings and Connolly wrote, noting that Park also offered to give a briefing to Congress.
“He did not request a delay of months, but of weeks.”
The delay is necessary, the two Democrats argued, because preparing for a congressional hearing would take away from time needed to fix the beleaguered website.
“Mr. Park has been a key leader in around-the-clock efforts to improve the functionality of the HealthCare.gov website, and diverting Mr. Park’s energies at this moment could seriously impair those efforts.”
Democrats have criticized Issa and other Republicans for their sustained assault on HealthCare.gov and the law that created it in heated congressional hearings over the past few weeks.
Democrats argue the hearings and Issa’s multiple subpoenas of Obama administration officials, are politically motivated.
Issa has said he’s interested only in the truth.
–CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.