Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the leader of the red herring IRS investigation, has been ranked as the most corrupt member of Congress. He also happens to be the richest, according to a new report from The Hill. Issa also is one of the GOP leaders heavily influenced by Groundswell, the formerly underground conservative activist group that contains notables such as Ginni Thomas (the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas), former Rep. Allen West, as well as high-ranking members of Judicial Watch and Breitbart. Is it any surprise that the richest, most corrupt member of congress also wants to limit the power of the IRS and constantly attacks social programs and the poor?
The Hill reports on Issa’s wealth, which is around $355.4 million:
Issa wiped some significant debts from his books last year, helping him climb to the very top of The Hill’s 50 Wealthiest.
The California Republican no longer lists $75 million worth of personal notes among his liabilities. In addition, a personal loan from Union Bank went from at least $50 million in value in 2011 down to $25 million.
The bulk of Issa’s wealth is kept in huge investment funds, several of which are worth $50 million each. In addition, the congressman has a number of properties valued either at least $1 million or $5 million.
The full report by The Hill, which lists the top 50 richest congresspeople, mentions 29 Republicans and 21 Democrats, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Even Darrell Issa’s pre-congressional history is rather sordid. While in the Army, he was trained as an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), and he claims to have provided bomb disposal security for Nixon during the 1971 world series. While he did provide security at the World Series, Nixon wasn’t there — making it pretty obvious Issa is a pathological liar, as it doesn’t even make sense to lie about something so easily verifiable.
He also seems to have had a problem with stealing cars. Well, at least, cars certainly seemed to have a way of disappearing around him. While in the service, during 1971, another soldier accused him of stealing his car, and threatened to kill him. The car, a Dodge Charger, appeared abandoned on the turnpike the next day. No charges were filed.
In 1972, he was indicted for stealing a Maserati, but charges were dropped. He and his brother also engaged in what was thought by police to be fraud; his brother, using Darrell’s ID, sold the car to a dealer for $16,000. Darrell reported the car stolen, attempting to get insurance money. During the investigation, police grew suspicious, due to inconsistent statements and the evidence at hand, and thought the brothers were attempting to cash in on both the auto sale and insurance money. Both brothers were indicted on grand theft charges. During the investigation, Issa repurchased the car from the dealer, and a few months after that, charges were dropped against him.
In 1980, he participated in a hit-and-run after getting in an accident with a woman. He told her he had no time to wait for police, and left. She sued, and the case was settled out-of-court. The original suit was for $20,000.
He also pled guilty to weapons charges after being stopped driving the wrong way on a one-way street after an officer spotted a firearm in the glove compartment, which turned out to be an illegal weapon.
And then there was the big one. In 1982, just three weeks after quadrupling his fire insurance policy and putting all important documents in a fire safe, a warehouse owned by Issa suspiciously burned down. Issa never got fingered for it, but with reports of “suspicious burn patterns,” it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think he set the fire.
In September of 2012, Issa won an award from “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.”
CREW cites Issa for illegally revealing confidential information from a sealed wiretap in the Congressional Record — while leading a politically-motivated witch hunt intended to hurt Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder — and then shielding himself from reproach and censure by claiming that he, as a member of Congress, had constitutional protections for his unethical actions.
A CREW spokesperson explains, “The Department of Justice and the House Ethics Committee should make clear they won’t stand for attempts to do an end-run around the law by conducting thorough investigations. Rep. Issa’s actions are all the more egregious given that he has urged more aggressive prosecution of those who leak confidential government information.”
CREW also noted, “CREW is no defender of DOJ. We are on record as condemning the ineffective and flawed investigations carried out by the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. But, as CREW pointed out in a June 22, 2012 letter to Mr. Issa, his committee’s vote to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt constituted an abuse of its powers and made clear Mr. Issa and his committee are not pursuing legitimate oversight, but instead are pursuing a partisan political agenda.” (Source)
Issa also happens to be one of the leading GOP congressmen under the influence of Groundswell. Because Issa heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the United States House of Representatives, Groundswell activists have used him to overhype false “scandals” to try and attack President Obama and others in his administration. Previously, I reported for Young Progressive Voices the following:
Groundswell, the conservative behind-the-scenes organization that forms a coalition between prominent Republicans, right-wing media, and conservative activists to wage a “30-front war against Obama and progressives” has been revealed to have played a role in the hype and false scandalization of the Benghazi “controversy.” A secret tape released by Crooks And Liars (audio below) has detailed the cooperation between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Ginni Thomas (the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas), former Rep. Allen West, as well as high-ranking members of Judicial Watch and Breitbart. The meeting was presided over by Catherine Engelbrecht, one of the founders of the voter suppression group, True The Vote.
In the tape, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council are revealed to have met with Boehner and Issa to discuss Benghazi:
A secret audio tape of one of Groundswell’s weekly meetings shows that prominent members of the group pressed House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chair of the House oversight committee, to expand the Benghazi investigation and make this supposed scandal a top-priority for congressional Republicans. This recording indicates Groundswell’s mission extends beyond message coordination to scandal-stoking. (Mother Jones)
Also in the tape, which covers the first 20 minutes of a Groundswell meeting, they also reveal that GOP congresspeople are willing, albeit reluctantly, to raise the debt ceiling, which may be excellent news for future Washington negotiations. Unfortunately, however, they also discussed their war on voting rights — insanely accusing the left of being the political force attempting to disenfranchise voters.”
Is it any surprise that the richest, most corrupt member of Congress heads the attacks on the left and opposes IRS regulations and government assistance for the economically disadvantaged?