Issa urges Pelosi to ask for Visclosky resignation

The top Republican on the House Oversight panel is urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ask for the resignation of Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) from the Appropriations Committee.

Visclosky, who has been ensnared in a federal investigation related to the now defunct PMA Group, has already recused himself from the appropriations process on the fiscal 2010 energy and water bill. Visclosky is the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees that bill. He has asked Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) to oversee that particular bill.

“Rep. Visclosky’s reported decision to recuse himself from certain of his responsibilities as chairman of his subcommittee is entirely insufficient given the grave nature of the controversy surrounding him and the likelihood that the Justice Department’s investigation will extend through much of the current Congress and perhaps into the next,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote to Pelosi on Thursday. “Leader Boehner would never have tolerated such a 'fig leaf' tactic […] nor should you permit Rep. Visclosky to do so.”

Issa said that Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) “moved decisively to secure the resignations of several embattled colleagues, former Reps. Rick Renzi and John Doolittle, from their own committee assignments.”

By stepping aside, Visclosky can focus his “full attention to clearing his name” and make clear that House leaders “no longer permit lawmakers who are the subjects of court ordered federal law enforcement actions to retain key positions of power and influence within the House.”

Federal law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating whether the PMA Group, a powerful defense lobby firm, made illegal campaign contributions to lawmakers. PMA and its associates were Visclosky’s top campaign donors. Visclosky also doled out million of dollars in earmarks for PMA’s clients over the last several years.

The feds subpoenaed Visclosky’s offices and some of his staff. One of those subpoenaed is Chuck Brimmer, the lawmaker’s chief of staff who resigned several days ago.