Latest Issa Investigation Rejected by Fox

July 13, 2011 2:33 pm ET — Brian Powell

Despite admitting that his House Oversight Committee hasn't been living up to its potential, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is plodding into the second half of 2011 with the same partisan intractability that tainted his first six months with the gavel. His latest fishing expedition, an investigation alleging that President Obama has violated the law by fundraising inside the White House, may be the biggest red herring he's tried to reel in yet. And this time, he doesn't even have Fox News on his side.

Fox usually doesn't shy away from cheerleading Issa's snipe hunts against the administration, but even they can't justify his latest endeavor. Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano came to a similar conclusion found by Politico this week — that the actions President Obama's team has been accused of are "above board" and precedented. Politico wrote:

The Obama activities targeted by Issa are hardly new. Top aides in previous White Houses were involved with reelection efforts in their spare time. Experts and lawyers have said publicly that all of what the Obama team is doing is above board, and a White House aide provided POLITICO with more than a dozen news clips and videos showing previous presidents using the trappings of the presidency in similar ways.

On America's Newsroom, Napolitano also poked several holes in the premise of the investigation, noting that some of Issa's allegations of wrongdoing are flatly "not illegal" and that "all of [Obama's] modern-day predecessors back to FDR did the very same thing." Napolitano's argument against Issa's claims was so sure-footed, it led anchor Alisyn Camerota to conclude, "Well, you make it sound so simple. Perhaps this will be a short investigation."

Watch (transcript below the fold):

CAMEROTA: [H]ere's what the White House says in its defense. They say they're not doing anything differently than what their predecessors did. In fact, George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, that they both invited top fundraisers to the White House as well. Does the precedent explanation help answer some of Congressman Issa's questions?

NAPOLITANO: Yes it does, because Congressman Issa is not a prosecutor with a grand jury looking to indict. He's an investigator, or the head of a committee that's investigating for the Congress. So whoever testifies before him will remind him of recent history.

Look, he may have something here. There may be people whose names and faces are unknown to us who have inappropriately assisted the president, or they may have just done these so-called ministerial things and Congressman Issa is absolutely entitled to find out who they are and what they did.

But as for the President himself bringing people to the White House and asking them to vote for him and contribute to his campaign, all of his modern-day predecessors back to FDR did the very same thing.

CAMEROTA: Well, you make it sound so simple. Perhaps this will be a short investigation.