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“GOP’s Case Against Planned Parenthood Collapses”: Jason Chaffetz Admits He Uncovered No Wrongdoing

As if truth-telling worked out so well for his colleague Kevin McCarthy, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz has just admitted that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s misuse of federal funds turned out to be a dud.

“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” Huffington Post’s Jennifery Bendery reports the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman admitted during yet another hearing on Thursday.

Chaffetz is of course, currently preoccupied lobbying to lead his fellow House Republicans after current House Speaker John Boehner announced his surprise resignation from Congress at the end of this month (Boehner has since offered to stay on as speaker until a replacement is found).

Chaffetz announced his upstart challenge to McCarthy last week, but after continued fallout over McCarthy’s boast to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the Select Committee on Benghazi has served as a successful political tool against Hillary Clinton, McCarthy’s coronation turned into a collapse. Curiously, the Utah Republican has followed a similar route to McCarthy’s, admitting that his committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood has been unsuccessful.

“Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said.

Just last week, all three cable networks covered his grilling of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and his tearful introduction blaming her organization for causing the death of his parents by wasting limited federal resources that could otherwise have been used for cancer research.

“Cancer in this country kills about 1,500 people a day,” Chaffetz said. “A day — and yet our federal government only spends $5 billion to fight it. If they were shooting 1,500 people a day, if there were rockets coming in, we would be fighting this with everything we’ve got.”

“Every time we spend a federal dollar,” Chaffetz added, “what we’re doing is we’re pulling money out of somebody’s pocket and we’re giving it to somebody else.”

For five hours, Republican lawmakers grilled Richards about her salary, the organization’s travel budget and of course abortions, all the while ignoring that Planned Parenthood provides crucial cervical cancer screenings.

“I think there will continue to be investigations,” Chaffetz said of the ongoing charade to prop up a series of  selectively edited undercover videos that purport to show the discussion of fetal tissue donation sales that triggered this latest defunding effort.

During Thursday’s hearing, Republicans successfully admitted a graphic abortion video, that a witness testified under oath was not even filmed inside a Planned Parenthood location, into the Congressional record as evidence against the women’s health organization.

 

By: Sophia Tesfaye, Salon, October 9, 2015

October 13, 2015 Posted by | House Government Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, Planned Parenthood | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Darrell Issa, GOP’s Resident Thug”: Contempt For Congressman Elijah Cummings, Contempt For The American People

The farce that is Rep. Darrell Issa continues. He put on an amazing spectacle shutting down the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, on Wednesday, repeatedly cutting off Cummings’ microphone and, finally, turning his back and walking away. I especially loved Issa’s little gesture pulling his finger across his throat like a knife, to cut the mic a second time. I called it “thuggish” on “Politics Nation” and folks on the right aren’t happy. That’s OK; it was thuggish.

Issa had once again called former IRS supervisor Lois Lerner to testify before the committee, knowing she was going to again use her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But what Issa didn’t reveal is that Lerner’s attorney had offered last month to share her answers to the committee’s questions via what’s called a “proffer.” That’s when the subject of an investigation reveals the rough outlines of what they know, which can also help determine whether they deserve immunity from prosecution (in order to get them to share more). But Issa rejected the proffer and staged a show trial designed to have Lerner take the Fifth again, in front of television cameras and a packed hearing room.

Cummings asked for time to make a statement, once Issa announced himself satisfied that Lerner wouldn’t testify Wednesday and tried to adjourn. That’s when Issa cut his mic.

“We’re adjourned. Close it down,” Issa said.

“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of this!” Cummings replied, though his mic was off. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is something absolutely wrong with that. It is absolutely un-American … Chairman, what are you hiding?”

On “Politics Nation” Wednesday committee member Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton explained Cummings was going to ask about Lerner’s attorney’s proffer, and that was why Issa shut him down. Issa was trying to “keep us from revealing that we could have learned exactly what [Lerner] would have said,” Norton explained. Cummings’ office confirmed her account.

So why would Issa reject that proffer if he was committed to learning the truth about the IRS “scandal”? Because from the beginning he’s known it wasn’t a scandal. From the beginning Issa has selectively leaked testimony and other evidence from his committee’s investigation to Fox News – which he treats as a fourth arm of government — consistently distorting the facts.

We now know that IRS staffers, overwhelmed by post-Citizens United political activism, used certain terms to screen groups on the right and the left to make sure they deserved tax-exempt status. Groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names, as well as “Occupy” or “Blue,” were flagged for special scrutiny. So far the only known group to lose its tax exemption was a Democratic group, Emerge America, which works to elect Democratic women to public office.

But over and over again, Issa has leaked one-sided testimony designed to show a bias against conservatives. Over and over Cummings has asked him to make public all of the testimony and evidence gathered by their committee, only to have Issa refuse. A few times Cummings has himself released testimony, including that of a self-identified “conservative Republican” manager of an IRS screening group who said no one from the Obama administration had anything to do with the selection of Tea Party groups for scrutiny.

Issa showed remarkable contempt for Cummings on Wednesday, but he also showed contempt for the American people. Issa’s investigation has cost at least $14 million, and eaten up 97,542 hours of IRS staffers’ time. The agency has coughed up more than 500,000 pages of documents; 35 former and current IRS employees have sat for interviews. Treasury and IRS officials have testified at 15 separate congressional hearings. After all of that, a leader who wanted the truth would have listened to what Lerner had to say through her attorney. That’s not what Issa’s after. He’s trying to shame the White House, and Cummings makes a great stand-in.

 

By: Joan Walsh, Editor at Large, Salon, March 6, 2014

March 7, 2014 Posted by | Darrell Issa, House Government Oversight Committee | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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