July 17th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
3 months ago

Cummings: Issa needs to stop playing 'political theater'

Updated 2:47 p.m. ET, 7/17/2014

(CNN)–House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican, and the panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings, have clashed repeatedly.

And now they're at it again.

A day after sparring over a committee subpoena of a top White House official, Cummings of Maryland blasted Issa for using the committee as "center stage for political theater."

Cummings told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "New Day" that it was wrong for Issa to try to compel testimony from David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.

Issa is looking into that unit and is demanding to know whether Simas' duties violate the Hatch Act, which bars most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities.

Cummings has said Issa lacks any evidence to show Simas or his staff violated the law.

"It is time for this committee … to fulfill their responsibilities under the Constitution to conduct responsible oversight," Cummings said.

Issa contends the White House has delayed providing the panel with information about the recreation of Simas' office in January.

It was closed prior to President Barack Obama's reelection campaign and Simas worked on that effort.

On Wednesday, Issa convened a brief hearing, but Simas did not show up.

Office of Special Counsel chief Carolyn Lerner, whose office enforces the Hatch Act, and a top deputy, said that the White House appeared to be in compliance with the Hatch Act

Despite Simas' absence at the hearing, there was still a heated exchange between Issa and Cummings.

"We do not simply haul in one of the President's top advisers at will," Cummings said. Cummings continued, saying Issa's actions are simply producing a "distraction."

Issa and Cummings have long sparred over committee procedures and investigations.

Cummings also blasted Issa for not consulting with him on whether to issue a subpoena in this case.

"He's supposed to have consultation with me," Cummings said. "Rarely do we have consultation. There has never been debate, votes, nothing."

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    I'd like to see the amount of taxpayer money spent and wasted on frivolous investigations by Issa. I'd sure like to have him pay for them out of his own pocket since he's one of the richest members of Congress.

    July 17, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. rs

    It isn't even political theatre- more like political pornography, including the lack of protection.

    July 17, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Lolo

    Issa cannot bull that BS over Cummings. Cummings tells it like it is and I truly admire him for it. Issa is nothing but a flashy politician who loves attention period. He is a puppet just like Romney.

    July 17, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "He's supposed to have consultation with me," Cummings said. "Rarely do we have consultation. There has never been debate, votes, nothing."
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Sounds illegal or at the very least against Congressional procedures, so why don't you haul Issa's butt to court, or at the very least a congressional hearing for violation of whatever it is that you're compalining about but in no rush to fix?
    Sorry.
    I'm tired of Democraps complaining about being stepped on and walked over but not doing anything about it.
    Lie like a rug, get stepped on like a rug.
    I think that you guys have drinks and cigars together when nobody's looking, and some more stuff...
    Political melodrama.

    July 17, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    Did you see Issa cut off testimony yesterday just as a witness was to give testimony that Issa didn't like?
    What kind of hearing is that?
    Issa doesn't want a repeat of that military testimony that debunked most of his Benghazi witch hunt!
    Give it up. Leave the conspiracy theories to the tin foil hats.

    July 17, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Cummings has said Issa lacks any evidence to show Simas or his staff violated the law.

    On Wednesday, Issa convened a brief hearing, but Simas did not show up.
    -----------------------------------
    On Tuesday, the staff convened a briefing with the committee, per the committee's request, but Issa did not show up.

    July 17, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. AlbaMN

    Political theater seems to be all we get these days. Especially in the house. Sad, so sad.

    July 17, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Tony D

    Cummings job is to do one thing and one thing only. Obstruct, hamper and hinder any and all discovery of the truth. He is there to protect the Democrats and Obama from being shown as the lawless criminals they are. He is playing the role Harry Reid plays in the Senate. Eric Holder blocks all government investigations. Meanwhile, the lawless Democrats run rampant disregarding and breaking laws with impunity. The Democrat Party is the biggest organized criminal organization in this country. And they now have control of your government!

    July 17, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. recovering from fox news

    I like that Cummings, someone has to keep him in check, theatrics is literally all they have at this point. They want you to think they care about people, just not the kids at our boarders, or the ones we need to feed Cheney's war machine, or the ones who can't afford private schools.

    July 17, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    Joe McCarthy, Darrell Issa. Issa may never catch him.

    July 17, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. warren

    Tony D " The Democrat Party is the biggest organized criminal organization in this country. And they now have control of your government!"

    Take off the tin foil hat ...

    July 17, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. recovering from fox news

    Tony, and tge deficit is cut in half, the stock market setting records, the lost eight million jobs under bush, bin laden dead, ended two wars, arrested benghazi suspect, your so right, how much more can we take. Roflmao

    July 17, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Boo

    Bill Maher has Issa on his show periodically. The next time Issa is on, I hope Maher rips him a new one.

    July 17, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. recovering from fox news

    Wasn't it issa who wouldn't let people testify, don't you want the truth? If you really believe this, you can be informed, but your not interested in the truth any more than issa is are you? Tell us what evidence he had to call him in? Pathetic, grow up already.

    July 17, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Gunderson

    Yes Issa!, We don't need anymore bad news! Already have more that we can handle on Southern Border! Micro Soft letting 18 Thousand workers go. My head exploding already. We need deliver more Food Stamps !!! We need soak Taped Out Taxpayers for all those illegals jumping border !! So just cut it out Issa !!!

    July 17, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. MICK

    Liberal mind: IRS destroying evidence is OK, but investigating them is LUDAKRIS!!

    July 17, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Al

    Issa knows crooks when he sees one, like every time he looks in the mirror. He is out of control!

    July 17, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. John

    Issa he ever going to find anything on these fishing expeditions? You would think he would have some proof of something done wrong before he begins these tax payer paid witch hunts....If they have any substance, why hasn't he EVER been able to prosecute one of them?

    July 17, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    Did you see Issa cut off testimony yesterday just as a witness was to give testimony that Issa didn't like?
    What kind of hearing is that?
    Issa doesn't want a repeat of that military testimony that debunked most of his Benghazi witch hunt!
    Give it up. Leave the conspiracy theories to the tin foil hats.
    ---------
    More Issa today's news: Now he is siting contempt using a rule he OPPOSED during Bush investigations!
    Badgering, bullying, lying, cutting off witnesses, ignoring evidence and testimony he doesn't like.
    I never thought you could prosecute based on a conspiracy theory but I stand corrected.

    July 17, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. just asking

    why are democrats so afraid of the truth? what are they hiding? all of their illegal activities maybe? looks like the irs is just the tip of the iceberg with these criminals.

    July 17, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    just saying

    Rudy NYC
    besides, she isn't an announced candidate. you and rudy can't seem to tell the difference. yesterday he was in here claiming hillary clinton couldn't go to the progressive dingbat conference because it would be considered cooperating with a pac. well she is a private citizen right? so that assertion was the usual rudy rubbish.
    ---–
    You people are just too literal, and just cannot see past the next corner.
    If she did declare a candidacy, that conference would be the first thing that YOU would point to as a foul.
    -

    oh pulleze rudy!! it is pretty clear you make up your garbage postings as you go and when called on your garbage lies, then claim sarcasm, or in this case some nutty future fake foul. just admit it, you got caught in another lie trying to protect hillary clinton from criticism for not attending the whack job progressive conference.
    ==========================================================================
    TRANSLATION: "I have no response to this, so I'd better deny what Rudy said as another lie."

    What's whacky is your insisting that she must absolutely, positively attend the conference. For what reason?

    July 17, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Tom

    I'd argue Issa and his endless witch hunts is helping the Democrats more than hurting.

    July 17, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House: "I'd like to see the amount of taxpayer money spent and wasted on frivolous investigations by Issa. I'd sure like to have him pay for them out of his own pocket since he's one of the richest members of Congress."

    $14 million and counting spent by Issa on the IRS "investigation." ($8 million in direct costs like salaries, benefits, and travel, plus an additional $6 million to $8 million to “add capacity to information technology systems to process materials to investigators.”)

    Pretty funny, when you consider Issa's committee (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) has stated its goal as "We exist to secure two fundamental principles. First, Americans have a right to know that the money Washington takes from them is well spent. And second, Americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them."

    July 17, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @just asking: "why are democrats so afraid of the truth? what are they hiding? all of their illegal activities maybe? looks like the irs is just the tip of the iceberg with these criminals."

    Why are repub/tea bags so obsessed with manufacturing scandals? Could it be they are trying to distract the voting public from the fact that they have nothing to offer our country and all of their policies are PROVEN FAILURES?

    July 17, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Longtimer

    just asking

    why are democrats so afraid of the truth? what are they hiding? all of their illegal activities maybe? looks like the irs is just the tip of the iceberg with these criminals.
    ____________________
    Why do you care? The Right has been fact-free so long that they wouldn't know a fact if it hit them between their eyes.

    July 17, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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