At a Glance
- Career History: Founder and CEO of Directed Electronics (1982-2000);United States Army (1970-1980)
- Birthday: Nov. 1, 1953
- Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
- Alma Mater: Siena Heights University, B.A., 1976
- Spouse: Kathy
- Religion: Antioch Orthodox Christian
- Committees: Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform (since January 2011); House Judiciary Committee
- DC Office: 2347 Rayburn House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515202-225-3906
Path to Power
Issa was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1953. A Lebanese-American, Issa attended Sienna Heights University on an ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1976. In the Army, he served as a bomb- disposal technician, tank-platoon commander, computer research-and-development specialist and rose to the rank of captain.
In 1982, he founded the company Directed Electronics with his wife Kathy in Cleveland. In 1986, the company moved to Southern California. Over the next decade, Directed Electronics became the largest vehicle-security company in the world. The company's best known car alarm, the Viper, features a recording of Issa saying "Please step away from the car." The company helped Issa make a fortune estimated at $100 million and catapulted his name to prominence in the high-tech industry.
Issa holds reliably conservative positions on most issues, but the Lebanese-American has earned a reputation for being independent-minded on Middle Eastern affairs. His leadership position on the House Oversight Committee has given him a consistent platform to voice his fiscal conservatism, particularly on tax and spending issues.
Issa has been outspoken in his displeasure with the Obama administration's spending plans, voting against the February 2009 $787 billion stimulus bill with the rest of House Republicans. One of Issa's objections to the stimulus bill was that it wouldn't directly help the economy. At an event in San Diego in March 2009, he said, "You have to lower your expectations about what will actually come to us, because it just isn't that kind of stimulus package, unfortunately."
Issa's national profile stems largely from for his lavish funding of the successful California recall effort, which inadvertently brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to power as governor.
On the House Oversight Committee, Issa worked closely with the Democratic Chairman Edolphus Towns in the 111th Congress. Rep. Eliljah Cummings (D-Md.) is slated to be the ranking Democrat in the 112th Congress in which Issa chaired the panel.