House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has refused to disclose publicly how many investigators he has hired so far, despite his own statements pledging greater oversight of the Obama administration. The refusal to disclose comes as a surprise to those familiar with Issa's remarks on the need for transparency in government, because it effectively limits the public's knowledge of the progress on Issa's efforts to ramp up oversight.
The Examiner contacted Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella requesting the information several times. Bardella would only respond that Issa's office is interviewing, or that the ratio of majority party staff versus minority party staff would not change. Bardella did, at one point, note that no staffers hired to serve the former Democratic chairman would be hired to serve the Republican chairman.
But when it came to the specifics of how many investigators, specifically, Issa's office has hired, Bardella said that they don't classify investigators any differently than regular staff. Then how any new staffers were hired, we asked. “We’re just not going to get into that stuff publicly,” he replied. When asked why not, no reply was offered.
Issa has been in the news pledging broader investigations into very broad areas of the Obama administration. According to Politico, his “sweeping and specific hearing agenda” reveals Issa's “plans to cut a wide swath as chairman, latching onto hot-button issues that could make his committee the center of attention in the opening months of the 112th Congress. By grabbing such a wide portfolio — especially in national security matters — Issa is also laying down a marker of sorts, which could cement his panel as the go-to place for investigations.”
If you're looking for information on how the committee operates, on the other hand, you may need to look elsewhere.