WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today released a report, “Midway through the 111th Congress: Creating Accountability and Transparency under One-Party Rule.”
From the report:
“As the Minority Members of U.S. House of Representatives chief watchdog committee, with jurisdiction to investigate all federal programs and any matter with federal policy implications, Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee have worked at the core of many of the nation’s most pressing debates in the first year of the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress. Recognizing the importance and unique challenges of their role in the Minority at a time when both Congress and the Administration are ruled by one party, Committee Republicans have been at the forefront of investigations into waste, mismanagement, and wrongdoing at the federal level, undertaking numerous inquiries and asking the tough questions when the Majority will not.
Committee Republicans have been successful in partnering with its Majority counterparts on some important investigations and reform efforts, such as securing House passage of legislation that would make financial information disclosure significantly more transparent and accessible to regulators, investors, and the general public. More often however, Committee Republicans have had to move alone to undertake the oversight activities and investigations that the American public expects. During the past year, Committee Republicans have aggressively fulfilled the role of government watchdog. Some results include:
- Since the beginning of the stimulus program, Committee Republicans have repeatedly questioned the Administration and raised public awareness about the inconsistencies and half-truths related to the Administration’s claims of stimulus-related job creation, leading to the Chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board agreeing during a public hearing that the Administration does not have the “ability to calculate the full time jobs equivalent” created or saved by the stimulus1 and the Administration changing its definition of “jobs created or saved”;
- Following the unprecedented expansion of federal government involvement in the private sector with the bailout of AIG, Committee Republicans have tirelessly and successfully pushed the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and others to provide greater transparency about the decisions made by the federal government to save AIG and become its dominant shareholder. The Committee’s efforts were applauded in a public hearing by the Special Inspector General for TARP, Neil Barofsky, who referred to the Committee’s “tenacity and leadership … in continuing the drive for transparency and accountability on the AIG bailout”2;
- As part of its ongoing investigations into the causes of the financial crisis, Committee Republicans exposed large quantities of previously unknown details about Countrywide Financial Corporation’s “Friends of Angelo” program, which provided sweetheart mortgages to so-called “VIPs” as part of its larger investigation of influence peddling by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other companies involved in affordable mortgage lending;
- Following an investigation into allegations of systemic fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Committee Republicans successfully led the effort to pass legislation denying all federal funding for the organization;
- Questions raised by Committee Republicans about the politicization of the 2010 Census led to the Obama Administration abandoning plans to have the new Census Director report directly to the White House instead of the Secretary of Commerce.