Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) has officially launched a bid to succeeed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Washington Post has learned.
Turner made his decision known in a recent interview, saying he wants to help restore bipartisanship on the panel and focus more on shaping policy.
“I’m a guy who works across the aisle,” he said. “Even though it’s a committee that has a lot of contentiousness, I think there could be some additional work to bring people together,” he said.
Issa has indicated that he will not seek re-election as the chairman. Other lawmakers considering runs for the House oversight chairmanship include Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and John Mica (R-Fla.), a former head of the House Transportation Committee, according to an article from The Hill.
Issa has been a lightning rod for the committee, clashing with Democrats over hot-button issues such as the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal, the Obama administration’s initial statements regarding the attacks on U.S. diplomatic buildings in Libya and the botched Fast and Furious gun-running operation coordinated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Democrats have accused Issa of politicizing the panel’s investigations, and even some Republicans have quietly expressed doubts about his methods.
In one notable incident, Issa adjourned a hearing in March without giving Democrats a chance to weigh in after former IRS official Lois Lerner refused to testify about the agency’s targeting actions. Democratic Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) raised objections, but Issa ordered his microphone to be cut off.
Turner said he would not pull back on important investigations, but that he wants to work more collaboratively with Democrats on the panel and other congressional committees when they examine the same issues.
“What we don’t need are parallel, competing investigations that come to no conclusion,” he added. “If we work cooperatively with other committees, we can enhance what the House is doing as a whole.”
In regard to the recent Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling scandal, he said the oversight panel needs to be “an echo and part of the choir.” The Senate and House veterans-affairs committees have taken the lead in examining that issue.
Turner, a former attorney who was first elected to Congress in 2002, represents a district that leans slightly Republican. Prior to joining the House, he became the first GOP mayor of Dayton, Ohio in 25 years, serving in that capacity from 1994 through 2001.