"Full Disclosure"? Issa Hearing Witness Gave Nearly $20K To His Campaigns

March 16, 2011 9:48 am ET — Matt Gertz

While introducing witness Tom Nassif, the president and CEO of the Western Growers Association, at his committee's February 10 hearing on "Regulatory Impediments To Job Creation," Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) acknowledged that "full disclosure" was necessary. Issa explained that Nassif is the deacon at Issa's church, a former ambassador, and a "personal friend."

But Issa somehow neglected to mention that Nassif and Western Growers' political action committee have together donated nearly $20,000 to Issa's campaigns.

ISSA: Before I introduce or ask Mr. Nassif to speak, I think full disclosure — Ambassador Nassif is the deacon in my church. He was the ambassador to Morocco and he is, in fact, a personal friend. So I hope that won't diminish the 70 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables that he represents and the thousands of growers.


According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Nassif has given Issa's campaigns at least $11,800, including $9,800 over the last two election cycles. Western Growers Association's PAC has chipped in an additional $7,000.

Nassif used his platform at the hearing to complain that American farmers "find ourselves in a regulatory environment that is stifling job creation and economic opportunity." He also said: "When we're dealing with agencies like the Department of Labor, there's no such thing as, we're your friend, we're here to help you. We're here to regulate you, we're here to enforce things and we're here to punish you if you make even tactical violations."

Issa is the founder of the congressional Transparency Caucus, and has said that the purpose of his committee is to "make the federal bureaucracy transparent." But apparently, he thinks that those standards only apply to other people.