The Washington Post

Issa subpoenas top Obama political affairs aide

epa04276573 Republican Congressman from California Darrell Issa grills IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about Lois Lerner's lost emails in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, USA, 23 June 2014. Koskinen stated the IRS lost nearly two years of her emails in a computer crash. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO Rep. Darrell Issa (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Friday that he has subpoenaed a top political aide to President Obama, the latest summons in what has been a massive number of orders to testify being handed up to top Obama administration officials.

Issa subpoenaed David Simas, the director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, to testify on the office's role in political campaigns and whether or not that complies with the Hatch Act, which prevents executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

“In an effort to appease its political allies, the Obama Administration broadcast its intention to re-open a political office within the White House to assist in partisan election efforts and fundraising. This follows a serious pattern of behavior at the highest levels of the Administration," Issa declared in a statement.

Issa said Friday that he will hold a hearing later this month about the Obama administration's compliance with the Hatch Act.

The subpoena was quickly lambasted by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee's ranking Democrat and often Issa's foil, who said that  ordering Simas to appear was an "abuse of authority."

“The subpoenas you have issued over the past several weeks have been abusive, overbroad, and in at least one case, issued to the wrong person," Cummings wrote in a letter to Issa. "Issuing a unilateral subpoena with no legitimate justification undermines the credibility of this Committee and, if challenged, is unlikely to be upheld by a court of law.”

According to Cummings's office, Issa has issued nearly 100 subpoenas since becoming the committee chairman in 2011 —more than all three previous committee chairmen combined.

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.



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