Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sought council from more than 150 big business associations, trade organizations, and corporations concerning which of the Obama administration's regulations he should target in the 112th Congress, Politico reports Tuesday.
"As a trade organization with members that must comply with the regulatory state, I ask for your assistance in identifying existing and proposed regulations that have negatively impacted job growth in your members' industry," Issa wrote in a Dec. 8 letter to the National Association of Manufacturers obtained by Politico. "Additionally, suggestions on reforming identified regulations and the rulemaking process would be appreciated."
Politico also reports that Issa contacted a variety of other groups with similar requests:
But a partial list obtained by POLITICO includes ones sent Dec. 13 to Duke Energy, the Association of American Railroads, FMC Corp., Toyota and Bayer. Others receiving inquiries from Issa over the course of the month included the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) and entities representing health care and telecommunication providers.
The move is the latest proof that Issa, who announced this weekend that the Obama administration is "one of the most corrupt," is preparing to dig in as one of its most committed foils.
Issa, who will have power to subpoena government officials to appear before the committee, said he intended to conduct inquiries into the release of classified diplomatic cables by Wikileaks; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration; the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's failure to identify the origins of the meltdown; as well as business regulations and alleged corruption in Afghanistan.
"I've always been fond of the saying that when it comes to oversight and reform, the federal government does two things well: nothing and overreact," Issa told the Post recently. "Too often, a problem is allowed to fester until it reaches a crisis point. . ..and the American people are left asking the question: what went wrong and why?"
Democrats, however, have accused Issa of mounting a purely partisan crusade directly against Obama with a series of requests for information about the administration's internal dealings. Some have also claimed that the intense nature of Issa's collaboration with business interests supports their contention that "the Republicans are in the business of protecting big corporations instead of creating middle class jobs."
The Issa camp disagreed Tuesday, saying that the latest action was simply an attempt to glean information about the best way to foster a pro-business, pro-job creation environment.
"Is there something that we can do to try to ease that [regulatory] burden and stimulate job creation?" Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella told Politico."Is there a pattern emerging? Is there a consistent practice or regulation that hurts jobs? Until you have all the facts, you really can't make a lot of determinations and judgments."