White House, a law unto itself, defies congressional subpoena

White House, a law unto itself, defies congressional subpoena

The Obama administration flat out refused to comply with a congressional subpoena ordering the appearance Wednesday of a senior White House political aide before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., served the subpoena on David M. Simas, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy & Outreach, directing his appearance and testimony on Wednesday about Hatch Act violations.

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.

On Monday, the eleventh hour, the White House proposed a closed-door meeting to be held Tuesday in lieu of Simas’ committee testimony, as reported here earlier.

Issa agreed to the meeting but advised he would consider lifting the subpoena only if the committee’s questions were satisfactorily answered at the private meeting. They were not — in fact, Simas didn’t even show up at the private meeting. Issa tweeted:

Issa’s letter began by pointing out that previous administrations “have all faced congressional oversight of political activity supported by taxpayer funds.” He then dropped the hammer — he advised the White House that Simas wasn’t off the hook.

The Committee has outstanding questions for Mr. Simas, who did not take part in the briefing, and it is necessary for him to appear at tomorrow’s hearing. Mr. Simas is still under subpoena and is expected to appear. I believe his on-the-record testimony will provide valuable insight into White House efforts to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Guess who didn’t show up at Wednesday’s hearing? Issa tweeted:

Guess what administration continues to think it’s above the law? That’s right — the Obama administration.

House oversight is a part of that “checks and balances” thing the “Constitutional lawyer in the White House” seems to have so much trouble with.

Guess what White House senior aide is bucking for a contempt of Congress citation? David M. Simas, that’s who

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz is a recovering Michigan trial lawyer and former research vessel deck officer. He has written extensively for BizPac Review.


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