Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks to reporters after a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill University March 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Issa takes heat for feeble witch hunt

It’s not exactly a secret that congressional Democrats have been frustrated with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and his often-ridiculous handling of various investigations. The frustrations recently boiled over during a hearing into the discredited IRS “scandal,” when Issa refused to let Democrats speak – and then cut the mic when Ranking Member Elijah Commings (D-Md.) tried to address the committee he helps lead.
What’s less appreciated is the fact that Republicans aren’t exactly enamored with Issa, either.
…10 months out from the first IRS scandal headline, some Republicans are unhappy with their party’s investigation – and they point a finger at the man who helped sustain the national uproar: Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
In background interviews with more than a half-dozen House Republicans on the Oversight and Ways and Means committees, the two panels probing the matter in that chamber, members expressed frustration that the investigation has become a spectacle that’s dragged on and distracted from serious charges.
It’s funny, in a way. Democrats have been disgusted with Issa overseeing witch hunts. But away from the cameras, Republicans have been nearly as disgusted with Issa for being incompetent while overseeing witch hunts.
GOP officials on the Hill aren’t disappointed that he wastes time on manufactured nonsense; they just wish he were better at it.
“There’s a far better way to take this on. … There’s broad frustration with how this has played out, with the road he’s taken,” one Oversight Republican, who asked for anonymity to speak frankly, said of the investigation.
The list of complaints includes: Issa waited nearly a year to bring a key IRS witness back to his panel; he let an offer to hear that witness speak slip and may even be causing sympathy for ex-agency official Lois Lerner.
In fairness to Issa, some of his Republican critics may not realize that the IRS controversy is a mirage. They seem to think Issa has failed to oversee an effective investigation into meaningful Obama administration wrongdoing, which is partly true, but it overlooks a nagging detail: there was no meaningful Obama administration wrongdoing to investigate.
Even the most rabid, partisan scandal-mongers can’t get blood from a stone.
That said, note that it’s not just the IRS story. Issa has invested an enormous amount of committee time, energy, and resources into all kinds of “scandals,” all of which he assured the political world would be a huge deal, rocking the very foundations of Washington.
And in each instance, the California Republican over-promised and under-delivered, producing bupkis.
Leave it to Darrell Issa to infuriate Democrats with his pointless obsession, while infuriating Republicans for being bad at it.