July 17th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
2 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. The Real Tom Paine

    @ just asking,

    Why did Issa abruptly end the hearings yesterday? Could it be that he can't bully people into going along with the narrative as he sees it?

    July 17, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Warren

    "As of Wednesday, Issa has issued a total of 99 subpoenas since becoming committee chairman - more than the past three chairmen combined."

    Now tell me he is not on a witch hunt........

    July 17, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. OBAMA - THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    Issa is just having a little fun. Life's rough or as my father used to say ABC – adversity builds character. Maybe they can work some magic with the phone and the pen.

    July 17, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Iamnotfooled

    We need to get rid of the "Three stooges". ISSA , BOEHNER, McCAIN.

    July 17, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    @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.
    -----------
    Issa: Tell me the truth.
    subjects: OK blah blah blah truth
    Issa: Tell me the truth – what are you afraid of?
    subjects: I just told you.
    Issa: So you deny it! When will you tell me the Real Truth.
    subjects: Dude, read the transcript.
    Issa: I will subpoena you!
    subjects: I am here already.
    Issa: It must be a conspiracy – say the sky is not blue! Say it.
    subjects: It is blue – just look out the wind -–
    Issa: Shut up – The sky is not blue.

    July 17, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Bill from GA

    Warren – " As of Wednesday, Issa has issued a total of 99 subpoenas since becoming committee chairman – more than the past three chairmen combined."

    Well, at least SOMEONE in Congress is working!! :)

    July 17, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    This GOP GRANDSTANDING LOSER and WASTE of TAXPAYERS MONEY WILL be KICKED OUT of office in November , this GOP CAR THIEF HAS NO CREDIBILITY along with the rest of the GOP FOOLS!!!!!!

    July 17, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    The GOP CLOWN ISSA will be ANOTHRR CANTOR in November along with a LOT MORE republicans MORONS!!!!!!

    July 17, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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