Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been quick to assail the "corruption" of the Obama administration, will be a busy man once the 112th Congress convenes on Wednesday. The California Republican, who will take the reins of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has ambitious plans for that panel, from going after WikiLeaks to investigating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giants.
An outline of the committee's expected hearing topics, reported by Politico, shows that it intends "to investigate how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown," Politico said, noting that no hearings are likely to begin until late this month or early February.
Attempts to reach Issa's spokesman for comment were not immediately successful.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, who will be the ranking Democrat on the committee, warned on CNN Sunday against an overly aggressive approach to investigations. Issa, he noted, "will have . . . power to subpoena almost anybody he wants to. And that's a problem when you come to these conclusions before you even bring people in. . . . I think that we're just going to have to be careful with this power."
On CNN's "State of the Union," Issa said the committee won't investigate the Obama administration for offering a job to Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak to keep him out of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania. That comes as something of a surprise given Issa's previous remarks on the subject.
After Sestak revealed last February that the White House had offered an administration job to dissuade him from running against Sen. Arlen Specter in the midterm election, Issa's office issued a statement calling the matter "Obama's Watergate." (Sestak would later win the primary against Specter, but lost the general election to Pat Toomey.)
Sounding a different note Sunday, Issa explained that "we've discovered the problem is bigger than that -- it's bigger than President Obama. Bush's people said, 'We did the same thing.' "
On "State of the Union" Sunday Issa also backed off from a comment he had made on Rush Limbaugh's radio show that Obama is "one of the most corrupt presidents
in modern times," saying instead that this administration
is "one of the most corrupt" ever.