House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa has surveyed scores of industry and conservative players to figure out how to target investigations of President Obama’s regulatory regime. But only a fraction of the responses he’s received have been made public, and he won’t share the rest with ranking member Elijah Cummings.
So Cummings is going straight to the sources.
In letters sent Monday to the same powerbrokers Issa solicited, Cummings asks for copies of their responses.
“I have been unable to obtain copies of any responses to the Chairman’s letters directly from the Chairman,” he writes in one such letter. “Without having the benefit of your response, Democratic Committee Members are being prevented from adequately preparing for a hearing the Chairman intends to hold in the coming weeks on this issue. If you have already responded to Chairman Issa’s letter, I request that you please send a copy of your response…no later than February 3, 2011.”
The public responses generally reflect the incentives of the groups Issa surveyed — no surprise there. And Issa has said he’ll release all the letters publicly, along with a GOP analysis, on February 11. But Cummings’ public campaign to circumvent Issa reflects his commitment to check the chairman (to the extent that he can) as the senior Democrat on the committee.
This isn’t their first dust up, and we’re still less than a month into the new Congress.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.