White House and Issa Battle over Obama political director
July 15th, 2014
04:49 PM ET
3 months ago

White House and Issa Battle over Obama political director

Washington (CNN) - Few Americans know the name David Simas. But the White House political adviser has become the latest flashpoint in the continuing battles between the White House and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.

Late last week, Simas was subpoenaed by Issa's committee to testify about his duties as the White House Director of Political Strategy. Issa is demanding to know whether Simas' activities are in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities.

Before serving as Political Director for the White House, Simas was President Obama's point man in the fight over the Affordable Care Act. Before coming to the White House, Simas served as Director of Opinion Research for Obama's re-election campaign."

"The Clinton White House, Bush White House, and other administrations before them have all faced congressional oversight of political activity supported by taxpayer funds," Issa wrote in a letter to White House Counsel Neil Eggleston Tuesday. "Under this Administration, like previous Administrations, members of President Obama's cabinet have committed violations of the Hatch Act, which draws a line between campaign and official business."

Eggleston responded to Issa's subpoena by sending White House staffers to brief the Chairman's office about Simas' duties Tuesday. But a Democratic source complained to CNN that Issa was a "no show" for the meeting.

"I do think it's fairly remarkable, that if Issa wants to be seen as genuinely caring about the issue (and not just cameras), that he didn't even bother to attend. I would love to know what his staff says he was doing instead," the source said.

Issa's office responded by saying Simas did not attend the meeting either and pointed to a letter from the Chairman to Eggleston last week that stated the briefing was intended to be for the California Republican's staff.

"The White House never should have had an expectation that members (of Congress) should attend, this was never planned as a member briefing. This is a fake issue they are trying to use to distract away from actual Hatch Act violations," Issa spokesman Frederick Hill said.

Simas is still under subpoena to testify Wednesday, Issa said in a letter to Eggleston Tuesday.

"The Committee has outstanding questions for Mr. Simas," Issa wrote in Tuesday's letter. "I believe his on-the-record testimony will provide valuable insight into White House efforts to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer funds."

Issa noted House Democrats investigated the political activities of various White House officials in President George W. Bush's administration.

Eggleston argued in his own letter to Issa that the Chairman's investigation threatens the separation of powers between the branches of government.

The ranking Democrat on the Oversight committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, said Issa lacked any evidence to show Simas or his staff is in violation of the Hatch Act.

"There seems to be no reason to continue this ridiculous confrontation other than to manufacture false controversy as Chairman Issa’s tenure comes to an end,” Cummings said in a statement.

 

 

 


Filed under: Darrell Issa • David Simas • President Obama • White House
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Who lives in this guy's district? A bunch of stoned drunks?
    Get rid of the car thief/ arsonist.

    July 15, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. O'drama ya Mama

    I cant wait to see Issa throw his hat in the ring for 2016. The guy has made a point to stay in the spotlight the last few years so I'm sure he's up to something.

    July 15, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""The White House never should have had an expectation that members (of Congress) should attend, this was never planned as a member briefing. This is a fake issue they are trying to use to distract away from actual Hatch Act violations,""

    Translation: "I deliberately skipped the meeting so I could have something else to yell about."

    July 15, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Its always interesting to see how Issa and his little minions carefully craft and construct their arguments of supposed wrong-doing. It should be obvious to anyone except the most pur-blind idiots on the Right that his tenure at the Oversight Committee has been a gigantic, wasteful exercise in partisan politics. Nothing of any consequence has been revealed, certainly nothing that rises to level of high crimes and misdemeanors, yet they keep building their "case" based on nothing more than wishful thinking and opinion.

    July 15, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. WhineO

    No worries... All relevant information about Simas are on a computer hard drive that will "accidentally" crash in the next few days.

    July 15, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. 4Truth

    Democrats will always try to get special leniency, but they certainly don't give it.

    July 15, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    Political activity – like you, Issa, wasting taxpayer funds to appease your ignorant base and avoid actually working for the American people (a.k.a., earning your salary)? Or are you referring to Boehner's bogus lawsuit against the President, again a waste of taxpayer money and a completely political activity, totally devoid of merit and only pursued because your party caters to the likes of the Quitta from Wasilla?

    July 15, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    This regime has been totally in violation of using tax dollars for political purposes, every which way.......going and coming. Obama has been criminal in his own actions of using public funds to support his political activities.

    July 15, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    All the other nontroversies are dying with a whimper, won't really effect the 2014 election and nobody cares but the radicalized RWNJ drool-bib base, so of course Issa and the MSM need to team up to try to manufacture a new one. Besides, Simas was "point man' for Obama on the ACA, so the GOP/Teatrolls clearly want nothing less than his scalp as a trophy and his career as revenge.

    July 15, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    -just get rid of this sob, he is the major problem. This thug needs to leave and stay unemployed. Nonsense to this nation.

    July 15, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    -just get rid of this sob, he is the major problem. This thug needs to leave and stay unemployed. Nonsense to this nation.

    July 15, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. mickey

    I smell another scandal for the white house.

    July 15, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Marie MD
    Who lives in this guy's district? A bunch of stoned drunks?
    Get rid of the car thief/ arsonist.

    =======

    When you drive to Vista on the 78 you can see this fear monger car alarm salesman's office on the left .
    He prays on the religious right , anti gay , pro military, anti environmental , pro growth , pro development , non sustainable , blame Obama for tooth decay voter.

    If it's Fast and Furious , Benghazi or the IRS .

    Issa is like an attorney who charges a grandiose fee for doing NOTHING , the guy should stick to Car alarms and hair gels !

    July 15, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Ul

    Obama has basically been given a free reign on so many things the man barely feels the need to answer questions. I heard they have a 3 month journalism degree available now to become part of the white house press corp.

    July 15, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. david saint

    Issa, making accusations before having evidence to prove it? say it aint so. lol thats his MO

    July 15, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    The great thing (probably the only thing worth noting) about Darrel Issa is his own managerial skills he's showcasing in taking himself down the rung by rung of his self made political pedestal ladder he hoisted himself on to begin with.

    July 15, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Norma jean

    As a Californian...I am embarrassed that Darrell Issa represents our state...I hope that in this case as in others that the important parties will ignore him or tell him to "get lost'!!!!!

    July 15, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Former republican, now an independent

    Another waste of taxpayer money by Issa. When will the American taxpayer/voter ever get fed up with this car thief who never served his time in prison?

    July 15, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Gurgyl, I know this will come as a shock to you, but the only people capable of making Issa leave are Issa himself, or the people of his district. Screaming that he is a thug does little except highlight your frustration, and diminishes your point of view.

    July 15, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. chrissy

    Ya know i have a younger sister used to act just like this bunch of romper room misfits! Never did her chores but was always whining about what the rest of us were doing, while our chores had been done for hours! To be fair SHE was only 7! Grow the hell up already!

    July 15, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Winston Smith

    California, please be a little more dicriminatory in your choice of elected officials. This creep is nuttier than a squirrel turd.

    July 15, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. belinda

    Darrel Issa, is hustling to make sure he can find the White house, guilty of misusing our taxes, any way he can, because now, everyone knows he squandered more than 20 Million dollars on investigations that were actually tax payer funded Witch Hunts. Just like Congress , he continues to rip off Americans, by not doing his job, and spending every penny he can to bring our President down. Political fraud. Why isn't he in federal prison for crimes against his country ???

    July 15, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. emskadittle

    wouldn't that make whatever it is that issa does illegal

    July 15, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. rs

    mickey
    I smell another scandal for the white house.
    _________________
    I smell another attempt on the part of the GOP to politicize everyday life.

    July 15, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. anonymous

    Eggleston responded to Issa's subpoena by sending White House staffers to brief the Chairman's office about Simas' duties Tuesday.
    -–

    so the whitehouse failed to respond to the subpoena properly. the subpoena was not for these low level staffers. why would a congressman waste his time with underlings of the person under subpoena? it is clear this white house feels they are above the laws.

    July 15, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
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