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White House asks Darrell Issa to drop subpoena


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The White House is asking Rep. Darrell Issa to withdraw a subpoena of a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and is offering instead to hold a private briefing on activities in the administration’s political affairs office.


In a letter sent Monday, White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston offered to brief Issa, a California Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on the role of the the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach on Tuesday. That’s one day before the office’s director, David Simas, is under subpoena to testify on potential violations of the Hatch Act.


The Hatch Act prevents executive branch employees from engaging in political races and campaigns. The White House insists the office is in line with the law, while Issa is accusing Simas of leading an organization designed to boost Democrats.


Eggleston asked Issa to withdraw the request for Simas’ testimony.


“While I am hopeful that we can work together constructively to address your stated interests, your subpoena is not helpful to these efforts. As you know, it has been the view of administrations from both political parties that summoning the President’s most senior advisors to provide public testimony raises significant separation of power concerns,” Eggleston wrote.


But Issa’s office said there is little chance that the subpoena will be withdrawn.



Issa to White House: Pound sand.

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They'll bypass Issa and go to Bonehead. He'll cry and then ask when they want to schedule the meeting in the White House.

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The Hatch Act....The Hatch Act? Now where have I heard that before?




Suddenly it all comes back to me!!


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Queen April approximately

Scott Johnson



House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan today wrote the Federal Election Commission regarding another mysterious hard drive crash, this one involving FEC attorney April Sands. Sands tweeted under the fitting handle ReignOfApril. The voluble Ms. Sands has admitted to disparaging Republicans and campaigning for President Obama in violation of the Hatch Act. J. Christian Adams wrote about the Sands case here for PJ Media.


The Issa/Jordan letter to the FEC posted here in PDF, with several of Queen Aprils tweets included states (footnotes omitted):



As a part of a settlement agreement with the [Office of Special Counsel], Ms. [April] Sands admitted to violating the Hatch Act by soliciting political contributions via Twitter, conducting political activity through her Twitter account, and participating in a political discussion via webcam from an FEC conference room . . . while on duty. The FEC [Office of Inspector General] sought to pursue criminal charges stemming from Ms. Sandss solicitation of political contributions while on duty inside the FEC building. However, the FEC recycled Ms. Sandss hard drive before the OIG was able to seize it, and therefore the OIG was unable to show that Ms. Sandss solicitations and political activity were done from an FEC computer. The U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia thereafter declined criminal prosecution.






Gosh another "unfortunate" hard drive crash.

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“Recycled” hard drive at the FEC too?
Ed Morrissey
July 15, 2014


The lesson of Watergate has not gone unheeded in the federal bureaucracy even more than forty years later. At the time, many wondered why Richard Nixon didn’t burn the tapes as investigators circled the White House. These days, the trick is to burn the e-mails, and it’s not just happening at the IRS. A probe into Hatch Act violations at the Federal Election Commission ran aground when the electronic communications of the suspect — a former colleague of Lois Lerner — had her computer hard drive “recycled.”


Sound familiar?




The FEC has a far-reaching mandate into the operations of elections, which means that partisanship in that agency is particularly corrosive. The Hatch Act requires strict neutrality of all federal employees while on duty, and one would expect that to be particularly observed in the FEC. Instead, Sands tweeted partisan messages from her office in 2012; sent out fundraising pleas for Obama’s re-election campaign, called Republicans her “enemy,” and said they should shut up and “stand down.”


When the Inspector General came knocking, however, the evidence had vanished. The FEC “recycled” her hard drive, which meant that criminal charges could not be pursued. How exactly could this have happened? Sands was under suspicion of a crime under a statute which would be updated later that year, in a bill signed by Barack Obama himself. Shouldn’t the FEC have taken steps to secure evidence rather than destroy it?



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White House Refuses to Send Witness to Congress, So Another Court Battle Looms
John Fund
July 16, 2014

The White House is refusing to allow political adviser David Simas to respond to a subpoena from House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa.


White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston says Issa has no power to compel Simas to testify at a hearing Wednesday morning about whether the office he runs has been engaged in improper political activity in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from such activities as campaign fundraising and explicit political support. Eggleston cited a new opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that cited precedents going back to Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon of executive privilege being asserted against testimony by White House aides.


Issa responds that in a case brought by congressional Democrats in 2008 against the Bush White House, a federal judge found that the idea of absolute immunity of a White House official from a congressional subpoena was “unprecedented” and held that presidential aides are “not absolutely immune from congressional process.”



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Issa subpoena storm intensifies


The director of the White House's political office defied a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, setting up a new high-profile fight between the White House and House Republicans.


Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said administration claims that White House political director David Simas was immune from testimony were “absurd” and “deeply disturbing.”


“The American people have a right to know if their tax dollars are being used for political activity,” Issa said, adding that Simas's testimony was “critically important” to his investigation into whether the political office had violated the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting executive branch employees from engaging in partisan campaign activity.

Issa has not produced evidence of a specific instance of the White House violating the law and has pointed to abuses in the office that occurred under the Bush Administration to justify the subpoena.


“Mr. Simas’ testimony is critically important and we are going to attempt to clarify whether or not President Obama intends to invoke Executive Privilege before considering our next course of action,” Issa said.Scissors-32x32.png



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