[oldembed width="420" height="245" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" flashvars="launch=41177013&width=420&height=245" fid="2"]
(In the above video, Ryan Lizza discusses Issa's very checkered past)
Darrell "The Arsonist" Issa already has tarred his committee's hearing process when he wouldn't allow the ranking Democrat to make his opening statement because it was aimed at JPMorgan Chase's role in the foreclosure fraud.
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa's investigation into the foreclosure crisis is off to a rough start. On Wednesday, the ranking Democrat on the oversight panel, Elijah Cummings (Md.), planned to use his opening statement to charge Issa with blocking the summoning of a witness from JPMorgan Chase to explain the bank's role in alleged foreclosure fraud.
Cummings never got the chance. In a move that diverged radically from congressional custom, Issa (Calif.) refused to allow the ranking Democrat to offer his statement, deciding instead to bar all opening statements from the assembled committee members, himself included.
"I know the tradition is that we hold the witnesses here for sometimes an hour through opening statements," Issa said Wednesday. "That is a tradition that I intend to break."
On Tuesday, at the organizational meeting to prepare for the hearing, Cummings had expressed concern that he might be barred from speaking. "Will you give me notice when you and I are not going to speak. I don't want to staff to spend all night preparing a memorable opening statement and then we don't get to give it," he said, according to a transcript of the meeting.
If anyone thinks Issa is actually going to hold any investigations that will help the American people, then they are really naive. I'll just leave it at that.
Susie already discussed Issa's criminal history. Fleshing out the details, here's Ryan Lizza's pretty in-depth piece in the New Yorker on Issa. It's really worth a read:
He's been convicted of gun charges, been indicted for grand theft auto and has been accused of burning down his own business. Nice. Arson Issa was also the man who basically funded the recall of California's Gov. Gray Davis so he could become the governor, but abruptly dropped out when Arnold dropped in back in 2003.
A day after Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he was running, the man who bankrolled the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis abruptly quit the gubernatorial race Thursday and the state Supreme Court swept aside lawsuits that could have delayed the Oct. 7 vote.
Issa's announcement earlier in the day came as a surprise because the congressman who made his fortune selling car alarms was one of the first to announce his intention to run and had spent $1.7 million of his own money on the effort. Bob Mulholland, spokesman for the California Democratic Party, immediately labeled Issa "the arsonist who fled the scene of the fire." "He didn't stick around to watch the fire, but he's created a mess — $1.7 million for his own political ambition and now he's fleeing the scene," Mulholland said. Issa had been one of Davis' most vocal critics, saying he misled voters during last year's governor's race about the size of the state budget deficit, which ballooned to $38 billion. The 49-year-old businessman said he had been repeatedly pounded for minor scrapes with the law that date back to two arrests in 1972 on weapons charges in Ohio and Michigan. One resulted in a $100 fine; the other was dropped.
And Issa left the race in Boehneresque fashion -- he cried:
[oldembed src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9LHe3S8_bQ0" width="420" height="330" resize="1" fid="21"].