By Miriam Raftery
January 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County Magazine)—Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) has been replaced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) as chair of the powerful House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.
Issa had used his chairmanship to launch numerous investigations of the Obama administration on issues such as Benghazi, as well as to push forward cuts in postal service and more. But Issa drew fire for his watchdog role. In 2012, Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) gave Issa a dishonorable mention on its annual list of most corrupt members of Congress.
Issa proved largely ineffective as Chair. Despite issuing triple the number of subpoenas as the prior three chairs combined, Issa’s investigations yielded no tangible results, drawing criticism that the self-proclaimed “watchdog” wastefully expended taxpayer dollars on investigations targeting the Obama administration on unsubstantiated claims, while failing to launch investigations against corporations charged with the same allegations. A report by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee debunked the Benghazi allegations as unsubstantiated.
The San Diego Congressman will now chair the Intellectual Property Subcommittee instead.
The new House Oversight chair, Rep. Chaffetz, has indicated his priorities will be to target the U.S. Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. Chaffetz’s home state, Utah, is rich in oil and gas on public lands that he is expected to seek to open up for energy development, striving to balance energy needs with protection for wild lands, water and climate, according to an article in Energy & Environmental News.