The Corner

Oversights at House Oversight

Darrell Issa (R, Calif.), having taken the helm as ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, has been rather busy over the last two months. He has questioned the architects and the overseers of the various bailout measures. His staff have put together an interesting report on Countrywide Financial that outlines the connection between the firm’s treatment of Democratic VIPs and Democratic resistance on Capitol Hill to reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In contrast, the Democratic leadership of the committee has been handed over from the fiery Henry Waxman (D, Calif.) to Edolphus Towns (D, N.Y.), who has proven to be far less energetic. The most recent example of this was reported on Saturday by the Washington Times:

One week after Republicans sent a letter to the White House seeking clarification on e-mail archiving, the top Democrat on the same House government oversight panel sent his own letter with identical, cut-and-pasted questions.

To add insult to imitation, Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had not accepted an invitation to sign the Republicans’ letter.

Democratic hesitance to oversee the Obama administration effectively should come as no surprise — it was similar when the shoe was on the other foot and Republicans were in charge. But given the broad scope of this administration’s agenda, oversight is arguably more important than ever. This sort of thing is not encouraging.

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