Friday, 23 September 2011

Rep. Issa Criticized for "Green" Hypocrisy

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Darrell IssaRepublican Representative Darrell Issa has been portrayed by the media as being one of the more fiscally conservative members of the House. A recent revelation contradicts that portrayal, as it has been discovered that Issa has been trying to redirect federal money for green jobs in his own district in California.

In January of 2010, Issa sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking for his support on a federal loan for an electric car maker. The letter read, “Awarding this opportunity to Aptera Moters will greatly assist a leading developer of electric vehicles in my district.”

The letter surfaced after Issa was harshly critical of the Obama administration for its crony capitalism on behalf of two companies: Solyndra  and Lightsquared. With Solyndra, there have been high-profile hearings on the $535 million federal loan guarantee to the California solar power company that declared bankruptcy last month. In the case of LightSquared, House Armed Services Committee Republicans are expressing support for an "aggressive investigation" into why the company received regulatory approvals from the FCC despite well-documented concerns that its planned satellite-terrestrial broadband network would interfere with GPS — including national security.

As the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Issa said of the White House’s relationship with Solyndra, “There’s been this attitude that somehow government can weigh in with loan guarantees and money and pick ... winners and losers."

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) called out Issa, however, after having learned of Issa’s 2010 letter. During a committee hearing in which Issa scrutinized whether green jobs have lived up to the promises made by the Obama administration, Cummings said, “Mr. Chairman, in terms of this loan program, it seems like you were for it before you were against it.”

Cummings later commented on Republicans in general:

They can't have it both ways — either they are for green energy jobs or they are not. It seems hypocritical to write letters in support of the program one day and then criticize it the next. The truth is the program works, which is why they want the money for their districts.

Issa’s spokesman later responded to the criticism:

Creating jobs in all sectors is a priority Chairman Issa and President Obama share — but they differ significantly on how to achieve it. Chairman Issa supports an all-of-the-above policy: creating jobs in green businesses as well as in other traditional sectors like energy production, manufacturing and small businesses. President Obama has focused on promoting green jobs even at the expense of jobs in other sectors through special deals like Solyndra.

Still, analysts cannot help but take note of Issa’s blatant hypocrisy, particularly because he has acquired a reputation as being one of Obama’s harshest and most vigilant critics and investigators in the matters of spending, fraud, and waste.

Photo: Rep. Darrell Issa

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