What Is Darrell Issa Doing in New Hampshire?

Issa: Continues gun-running probe.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
Feb. 17, 2014, 3:05 p.m.

Rep. Dar­rell Issa, the bom­bast­ic chair­man of the Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee and prom­in­ent scourge of lib­er­als every­where, is in New Hamp­shire this week.

The 60-year-old Cali­for­ni­an is mak­ing speeches. He pub­lished an op-ed that in­tro­duces his life story to Gran­ite State res­id­ents. And he’s prompt­ing the ob­vi­ous ques­tion.

“He is not run­ning for pres­id­ent,” said Kurt Bar­della, a former Issa con­gres­sion­al aide whose firm, En­deavor Stra­tegic Com­mu­nic­a­tions, now handles Issa’s polit­ic­ally re­lated me­dia in­quir­ies.

Bar­della said Issa gets many re­quests to at­tend events in oth­er states. There were two ap­pear­ances at the end of last year in Pennsylvania, and there are two in his home state later this week. “Con­gress­man Issa wants to do everything he can to help grow the Re­pub­lic­an Party and play a pos­it­ive and im­pact­ful role in shap­ing its mes­sage go­ing for­ward,” he said.

Issa is well known as a vo­cal crit­ic of Pres­id­ent Obama and his com­mit­tee’s in­vest­ig­a­tions in­to the Benghazi tragedy, Op­er­a­tion Fast and Furi­ous, the IRS, and Obama­care have made head­lines. He draws sup­port from both tea-party and fisc­al con­ser­vat­ives.

But un­der GOP rules, Issa’s term as Over­sight chair ex­pires at the end of 2014 after six years as the pan­el’s top Re­pub­lic­an, un­less he seeks and gets a rare waiver.

There is no dis­put­ing that Issa’s team has been en­gaged in an ag­gress­ive pub­lic-re­la­tions push to make sure at­ten­tion is paid to his ap­pear­ances this week in New Hamp­shire, his pub­lished column, and his prodi­gious fun­drais­ing.

On Tues­day, Issa is set to give his second and third speeches in the state in two days at a break­fast in Manchester for a com­mit­tee to elect state­house Re­pub­lic­ans, and later at the New Hamp­shire In­sti­tute of Polit­ics. On Monday, he gave the key­note at the an­nu­al Lin­coln Day Din­ner ad­dress to the Con­cord-Mer­rimack County Re­pub­lic­ans.

The op-ed ap­pear­ing un­der Issa’s byline Sunday in the Con­cord Mon­it­or car­ried the head­line, “Dar­rell Issa: Here’s the dif­fer­ence between Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats.”

“The only way to make gov­ern­ment work bet­ter is to re­store genu­ine ac­count­ab­il­ity. That is the role I have played in Con­gress as chair­man of the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee over the last few years,” Issa wrote.

Issa also laid out a bit of per­son­al bio­graphy, de­scrib­ing his grow­ing up in Clev­e­land, the grand­son of a Le­banese im­mig­rant, and as part of a “work­ing-class fam­ily.” And he tells of go­ing in­to the Army and then liv­ing a suc­cess story in build­ing a small com­pany in­to a lead­ing maker of auto se­cur­ity and con­veni­ence products, which he moved to Cali­for­nia. Issa is, by some counts, the wealth­i­est mem­ber of Con­gress.

Issa has also raised a great deal of money, haul­ing roughly $2.1 mil­lion in­to his cam­paign so far this elec­tion cycle — second only to Rep. Paul Ry­an among the 23 House com­mit­tee chairs when con­sid­er­ing only their cam­paign ac­counts. He now has more than $3 mil­lion stock­piled — and no well-fun­ded chal­lenger.

The num­bers could sug­gest that Issa’s ag­gress­ive in­vest­ig­a­tions and red-meat at­tacks on the ad­min­is­tra­tion are pop­u­lar in the Re­pub­lic­an Party. Could Issa grow more pop­u­lar too?

Ex­perts say Issa would likely be an as­ter­isk in pres­id­en­tial polls right now, but that he is ar­tic­u­late and has made the most of his for­um on the Over­sight Com­mit­tee.

His fun­drais­ing — done as the head of a com­mit­tee that is not a tra­di­tion­al money mag­net — is also well re­spec­ted.

But Issa is also now a Wash­ing­ton in­sider, part of an in­sti­tu­tion that is ex­tremely un­pop­u­lar in pub­lic polling.

“Dar­rell’s also ab­ras­ive and single-minded “¦ and when it comes to mem­bers of Con­gress who really de­test Barack Obama, he’s go­ing to be on every­body’s top-three list. That alone sets him apart,” poll­ster John Zo­gby said.

But Zo­gby does see at least one sol­id be­ne­fit to Issa’s New Hamp­shire activ­ity, whatever his as­pir­a­tions.

“I think there’s a cer­tain cache when you ap­pear lar­ger than your dis­trict,” he said. “It gives more clout to your gavel.”

What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
2 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
2 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login