As the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the New York Times once described Rep. Darrell Issa as President Obama’s “Annoyer-in-Chief.” With his investigation of the “Fast-and Furious” scandal, many say he has earned the moniker. Issa is also a vocal budget hawk. Upon his appointment as Chairman, Issa said the government needed “to go on a diet.”
Issa was first elected to Congress in 2000 after a very successful business career manufacturing and selling vehicle anti-theft devices. He represents California’s 49th district which includes much of south Orange County and coastal San Diego County. He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee; served in the U.S. Army where he was trained to diffuse bombs and obtained the rank of captain; earned a degree in business from Sienna Heights University; and was born in Cleveland. He moved to Vista, Calif. in 1985 where he started his company, Directed Electronics, which eventually became one of the largest makers of aftermarket electronic automotive accessories in the U.S. He holds 37 patents.
In 2010, Issa was determined to uncover the details of the failed weapons sting perpetuated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms known as Operation Fast and Furious that resulted in the murder of a Border Patrol Agent. ATF wanted to find Mexican drug lords by tracking guns smuggled from the U.S. Subpoenas were issued by his committee, hearings were held, and the White House and the Department of Justice failure to provide documents and evidence resulted in a vote by the House to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Holder is the first Cabinet officer in history to be cited for contempt of Congress.
Issa’s reform agenda includes the U.S. Postal Service which has been losing $1 billion a month; support for the independence and funding for the 73 inspectors general (the watchdogs of the government); and immigration reform. His investigations into the Obama administration have included the Troubled Assets Relief Program; corruption in Afghanistan; the illegal use of taxpayer dollars by ACORN; the politicization of science at the EPA; and a broad investigation into the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
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