The White House responded Monday to a subpoena issued by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., directing that a senior White House advisor appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Their response? They’d like a closed-door meeting instead.
Public Congressional hearings tend to get messy.
The subpoena ordered David M. Simas, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy & Outreach, to testify as to what he knew concerning alleged White House violations of the Hatch Act, according to Politico.
Simas was directed to testify Wednesday; the letter requesting a private Tuesday meeting was sent Monday by White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston.
Is this what the Obama administration calls “planning ahead?”
According to Politico:
The Hatch Act prevents executive branch employees from engaging in political races and campaigns. The White House insists the office is in line with the law, while Issa is accusing Simas of leading an organization designed to boost Democrats.
Eggleston asked Issa to withdraw the request for Simas’ testimony.
“While I am hopeful that we can work together constructively to address your stated interests, your subpoena is not helpful to these efforts,” Eggleston wrote in his letter, per Politico. “As you know, it has been the view of administrations from both political parties that summoning the President’s most senior advisors to provide public testimony raises significant separation of power concerns.”
As you might imagine, Issa’s patience with the White House is beginning to get as thin as the president’s famously thin skin.
The Obama administration was “not willing to be forthcoming until we issued a subpoena to Simas,” Frederick Hill, spokesperson for Issa said. He added that notwithstanding the White House’s antics, Issa would consider lifting the subpoena if all the committees questions are answered at Tuesday’s meeting.
Another day in the most transparent administration in history.