May 10, 2011 11:27 am ET - by Matt Gertz
You have to hand it to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) — when he decides to levy hyperbolic accusations, he doesn't go halfway.
Yesterday, we pointed out that Issa was doing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's bidding with an upcoming hearing into a draft executive order that would increase transparency by requiring federal contractors to disclose their political donations. Today, Issa took to Fox News to repeatedly accuse the Obama administration of plotting to use the disclosures to create a "Nixonian-type enemies list":
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): You feel that this could be a way to punish the enemies of the White House, right?
ISSA: Absolutely, Steve... This could be a Nixonian-type enemies list in the making by executive order, and we can't even get the Office of Management and Budget to come before us before this becomes an executive order...Very clearly, Congress had no intention on having these kinds of disclosures to where you could build an enemies list. ... So we're very aware, this is a Nixon-type, "Who are my friends, who are my enemies" move.
Issa's absurd and unsubstantiated "Nixon-type" rhetoric is reminiscent of his claim — also pushed on Fox — that the White House's supposed job offer to then-Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) constituted an "impeachable" "crime" followed by a "Nixonian" "cover up." Numerous legal and ethics experts and political historians subsequently denied that the offer in question was either illegal or unusual, and Issa has said that he will not investigate what he previously said was "impeachable."
As the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein points out, the Republican position on campaign finance has long called for increased transparency instead of bans on specific types of donations. But with the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens Union opening up the floodgates for undisclosed corporate money to flow into the GOP's coffers, they have turned against efforts to increase transparency in such cases.
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