Cummings Sends Session-Opening Letter To Issa

Jan 18, 2011
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07 ), the new top-ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote to Chairman Darrell Issa today to outline his overarching approach to the Committee’s oversight activities in the 112th Congress.

"I am looking forward to being your partner in responsible oversight that serves the public by eliminating wasteful spending and making government work more effectively and efficiently," said Cummings in the letter. "But I am equally determined to resist any efforts to use the power and resources of the Committee for ill-advised purposes."

"Last year, you wrote an op-ed in USA Today stating: 

‘It’s very clear that the American people do not want a divided government hell-bent on fighting one another in an attempt to score cheap political points.  They want a government with checks and balances, run by adults who are up to the task of solving the very real problems confronting our nation.’

"I strongly agree with these sentiments. I want to join you in conducting responsible oversight to ensure accountability in government and effective operation of our nation’s laws.  I also agree with President Obama’s statement last week that ‘a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation.’  Together, I hope we can elevate the level of discourse not only on our Committee, but across the nation."

Cummings raised concerns, however, about unsubstantiated statements made by Chairman Issa and his staff, as well as questions about the use of taxpayer dollars to fund "Oversight Productions" and "Issa Enterprises," two new sub-units of the Committee created by Chairman Issa that engage in activities that appear to have little to do with official Committee business.

Rep. Cummings concluded: "As Ranking Member, my goals are straightforward: I want the Committee to engage in oversight that is regarded as serious rather than dismissed as silly or absurd; to establish strong predicates for investigations rather than making unsubstantiated allegations that waste taxpayer funds; to use Committee resources to inform and educate the American people rather than attacking opponents; and to conduct comprehensive, balanced investigations that seek out the truth rather than launching one-sided inquiries designed to fulfill predetermined outcomes."

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112th Congress