The GOP's top House investigator in the new Congress is putting the White House on notice that he's going to be aggressive in going after what he considers wasteful spending by the Obama administration.
California Rep. Darrell Issa is set to lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- and gain the chairman's subpoena power.
During an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning, Issa was asked about a suggestion he made in November following the elections that President Obama "has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times." The Republican congressman found himself addressing the controversial remarks despite having already expressed regret over his choice of words.
I corrected -- what I meant to say -- you know, on live radio, with Rush going back and forth -- and by the way that was because Rush had me on to answer the question of -- about coming together, having compromise. He didn't like the compromise word, when I said we're going to agree to disagree and then we're going to find a kind of common ground, the kind of compromise that makes -- and gets things done.
In saying that this is one of the most corrupt administrations, which is what I meant to say there, when you hand out $1 trillion in TARP just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect.
When I look at waste, fraud and abuse in the bureaucracy and in the government, this is like steroids to pump up the muscles of waste.
In a separate appearance on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend, Issa suggested the White House hire more accountants -- not lawyers -- to deal with requests for information from the Republican-led House. He said that it's "more of an accounting function than a legal function" and suggested the White House look at wasteful spending -- not the GOP -- as the enemy.
Issa took direct direct aim at Attorney General Eric Holder on the program.
"He isn't doing enough," explained the incoming committee chairman. "He's hurting this administration. If you're hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration or leave."
Fox News reports:
The pointed words came after Issa was asked on "Fox News Sunday" about Holder's handling of several hot-button issues, including the possibility of legal action against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Holder has said that the Justice Department is conducting an investigation into the leak of thousands of diplomatic cables, pledging to hold accountable anybody found acting in violation of U.S. law.
The California Republican said Sunday that if President Obama is not treating the unauthorized disclosure as terrorism, then Holder needs to go after the leak as a criminal matter. "Otherwise the world is laughing at this paper tiger we've become," he said.