Chairman Issa, what exactly did Jay Carney lie about?

If GOP committee chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), who’s leading the House Republican investigation of the IRS Tea Party imbroglio, is going to accuse White House spokesman Jay Carney of lying (and Issa did), the congressman ought to at least have the balls to explain what exactly Carney lied about.

But that would be expecting too much.

First, here’s Issa calling Carney a “paid liar”:

Now, in all fairness to Issa, history shows that a good way to get Issa’s committee to cooperate with you is to donate to Congressman Issa’s campaign.  And let’s face it, there’s not a lot of donating to Issa going on in this White House.  So it’s somewhat unfair of the White House to expect Issa to be more cooperative when they’re hardly being – let’s call it “cooperative” – with the good chairman.

From Political Correction:

[A]t a February hearing, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) hosted Western Growers Association president and CEO Tom Nassif, a major Issa donor. While introducing Nassif and purporting to provide “full disclosure,” Issa mentioned that Nassif was a “personal friend,” but not that Nassif and his organization’s political action committee had donated nearly $20,000 to Issa’s campaigns.

Speaking of money, the NYT noted that Issa seems to occupy a unique space in Congress, in terms of “the role he has played in overseeing a remarkable array of outside business interests since his election in 2000.”

So, money makes the Issa go around?

Oh, and there’s also this from ThinkProgress:

Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) raised hell last year to stop the federal government from investigating Goldman Sachs regarding allegations that the company defrauded investors. In April 2010, shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)announced a civil suit against Goldman Sachs, Issa sent a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro demanding to know if there was “any sort of prearrangement, coordination, direction from, or advance notice” between the SEC and the Obama administration or congressional Democrats over the timing of the lawsuit.

What's not to trust about a 59 year old guy without a single gray hair?

What’s not to trust about a 59 year old guy without a single gray hair?

Issa’s investigation of the SEC’s investigation into Goldman Sachs stolethe headlines and reinforced Goldman Sach’s claim that they had done nothing wrong. Explaining his defense of Goldman Sachs, Issa said he was representing the views of ordinary Americans who are worried about the “growth of government and the growth of government wanting to become more complex, with more agencies and more control over our lives.”

However, recent personal finance disclosures reviewed by ThinkProgress paint a different picture of Issa’s motivations. According to documents filed recently with the House Clerk, Issa went on a buying spree of high yield Goldman Sachs bonds at the same time he was running defense for the investment bank in Congress. From February to December of 2010, Issa bought 12 Goldman Sachs High Yield Fund Class A bonds, each worth up to $50,000 (view page 10 the disclosurehere). Many of the bonds were purchased in the months after he filed his letter to the SEC. The $600,000 in new Goldman Sachs investments added to Issa’s already multimillion dollar stake in the company, valued from $5.1 to $15.5 million.

But hey, this story isn’t about whether Chairman Issa is corrupt, it’s about whether he likes to play fast and loose with the truth.

You know, like the time that Issa – who claims White House spokesman Carney is a liar – also claimed that the White House is intentionally fomenting violence in order to help justify a crackdown on guns.  Yeah, no bending the truth there.

Or the time Issa went ballistic over the “Fast and Furious” program, only for us to find out later that Issa knew all about the program a good year before and didn’t care one lick about it then.  In other words, his “outrage” was just for show.  (Gee, are we seeing a theme here?)

But maybe it’s all a fluke.

Hey, speaking of flukes, remember the time Chairman Issa dissed Sandra Fluke, the woman Rush Limbaugh called, dozens of times, a sl-t?  This one is worth quoting a few grafs:

Democrats on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a special hearing Thursday morning in response to the GOP’s decision to prevent women from testifying in support of an Obama administration rule requiring employers to provide birth control without additional cost sharing. The committee invited just one witness, Sandra Fluke, the third year Georgetown Law student, who House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) dismissed as an “energized” “college student” who was not “appropriate and qualified” to testify before his committee.

Democrats received over 300,000 requests for women to testify on the issue, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during today’s hearing, and the GOP’s male-only contraception hearing was widely spoofed in the press and on late-night comedy shows. Fluke herself responded to Issa’s snub in jest, noting, “Well, I will confirm that I was energized, yes” she said to laughter from the committee, “as you can see from the reaction behind me, many women in this country are energized about this issue.” “I’m an American woman who uses contraception, so let’s start right there. That makes me qualified to talk to my elected officials about my health care needs,” she added.

In her testimony, Fluke reiterated the story of her friend who was denied contraception coverage from Georgetown, despite technically qualifying for an exception that provided students who use birth control for health reasons with the benefit, and had to undergo invasive surgery.

So Issa as a judge of character – not so much.

But don’t get me wrong.  Not everything Darrel Issa says is a lie. Who can forget the time that Issa joined the always-adorable GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz in outing a classified CIA operation on national television?  No lying there.  And even better, it was during a hearing on the GOP’s other favorite conspiracy, Benghazi.  As I wrote at the time:

While attempting to use the death of American government officials in Libya to help Mitt Romney’s election bid, fellow Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, and his House Republican colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, outed a classified CIA operation, on C-SPAN no less, endangering American national security.

Oops.

Oh but, as the saying goes, it gets better.

Chaffetz and company were using the death of the US ambassador to Libya, and others, to try to smear the President for “security lapses,” and as the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank points out in a great scoop, Chaffetz and company managed to create their own massive security lapse.

Yeah, that one left a mark.

So I don’t want to call Congressman Issa corrupt.  And I also don’t want to call him a liar.  All Darrell Issa needs to do is explain exactly what Jay Carney said that merited calling the White House spokesman a “paid liar.”

Because let’s face it, the public likes a paid liar only slightly more than an elected one.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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