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Darrell Issa Asked His Own Campaign Contributors to Pick Regulations They Want Abolished

With the potential nuclear explosion of the Ibanez case still reverberating, something as mundane as a Congressional oversight hearing may not be consequential. But it’s worth understanding the seriousness of the effort in the new Congress. Darrell Issa does plan to have an investigative hearing on foreclosures – one that reanimates the zombie lie that the blame can be placed entirely on poor people.

Elijah Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, approached his Republican counterpart to urge a hearing on the foreclosure crisis. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) agreed to a hearing, said Cummings, but it won’t be what he had in mind.

“I asked Mr. Issa for the foreclosure hearing and it sounds like it’s going to turn into a Freddie Mac-Fannie Mae hearing, as opposed to the robosigners, as opposed to the failure of banking institutions to modify loans,” Cummings (Md.) told The Huffington Post.

You know, Cummings doesn’t entirely understand this either, or at least he’s only focusing on a part, and not the whole, of the problem. He gets that banks are foreclosing improperly, but it’s not just that they are engaging in the modification and foreclosure process on a dual track. It’s that they have no standing to foreclose.

But instead, in Issa’s interpretation, we’re going to get a long and winding explanation of how Fannie and Freddie allowed poor black people to buy too much house, and as a result they crashed the financial system. I didn’t realize that poor people had so much power. Heck, I didn’t realize they were the only ones to sign mortgage documents! Needless to say, this is a ridiculous bit of revisionist history.

But it protects Issa’s constituents from blame, and when I say constituents I mean his corporate benefactors.

Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to 150 companies, trade associations, think tanks and scholars in mid-December asking them to come up with a list of the most onerous existing and proposed regulations that are hurting job creation and economic growth […]

Issa has received $80,000 in donations from the groups on the list over the past decade, but the bulk of those contributions come from just eight entities, according to an analysis by The Hill. The figure does not factor in individual donations from executives and employees of the companies and associations.

Exxon Mobil doled out $17,000; the Associated Builders & Contractors, $11,500; Caterpillar, $10,500; the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, $9,000; the Precision Metalforming Association, $8,000; General Electric, $7,000; the American Mining Association, $6,500; and Edison Electric, $4,500.

Only General Electric has a history of giving more to Democrats than Republicans in election cycles. The other six always have given predominantly to Republicans.

Issa’s response is that he’s super-rich and can’t be bought. Yeah, that usually works out. Ultra-rich politicians always operate in service to the people and not the members of their social class. Everyone is just like FDR.

More on this from the California Labor Federation.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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