Issa subpoenas Obama's chief of staff for documents
By Elise Viebeck - 08/22/14 05:50 PM EDT
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a subpoena Friday for White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, arguing he has not cooperated with a GOP probe of President Obama's political office.
Issa accused McDonough in a letter of failing to accept investigators' "good faith" effort to address concerns about revealing privileged communications between Obama and his staff.
"The White House has acknowledged that the dialogue has been constructive and that progress has been made. Unfortunately, these characterizations represent the total sum of what the White House has provided," Issa wrote on Friday.
"The White House has not produced any additional documents, nor has the White House stated if or when the committee will hear from [David Simas, director of the Office of Political Strategy]."
The move ratchets up the pressure from Issa in his investigation into whether the administration is using taxpayer dollars for political purposes.
Issa first ordered Simas to testify before his panel on July 11, prompting a White House request that he drop the order three days later.
"Your subpoena, which directs Mr. Simas to appear at a public hearing three business days after it was issued, unnecessarily constrains our ability to work together by limiting the time we have to explore mutually-agreeable ways to provide you with the information you seek," wrote White House counsel Neil Eggleston.
Eggleston also said the White House had offered to brief Issa's staff and argued the California Republican had "not pointed to any evidence" that Simas or his office violated federal law. Obama's team had turned over at least 185 pages of documents as of July 11.
Issa's spokesman responded at the time that the subpoena would remain "in effect."
Friday's order requires the White House to provide all documents and communications about the development of the White House political office and all of its guidelines for official and political travel. It is a document subpoena and does not appear to require testimony from McDonough.
A spokesperson said the White House had been extremely forthcoming with Issa, including briefing his staff, confirming when more documents would be sent and providing additional information about the political office.
The Office of the Special Counsel also submitted testimony to the Oversight panel saying the political office was operating in compliance with federal law, the spokesperson said.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said in July that the political office operates "in full compliance" with the Hatch Act, a law that limits the political activities of Executive branch employees.
"To date, there is not even any suggestion or let alone evidence that we've deviated from the requirements of the Hatch Act," Earnest told reporters. "There is not even a shred of evidence to indicate any cause for concern."
This post was updated on Aug. 23 at 9:15 a.m.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/215801-issa-subpoenas-white-house-chief-of-staff#ixzz3BJ5kyCcM
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