Republicans need to execute rigorous oversight of the Obama administration but also avoid the pitfalls of going on "witch hunts," a key GOP lawmaker said Wednesday.

Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that House Republicans need to "proceed with caution" in terms of their investigations into the Obama administration during the next Congress.


"I think all of us should proceed with caution in terms with what might be viewed and what would be kind of witch hunts going on," he told NPR. "And I'm sure that [committee chairman-in-waiting] Darrell Issa will be careful of that. We saw too much of that in the 1990s."

A number of leading Republicans have publicly stamped out rumors that they plan to dog President Obama with politicized investigations, and maybe even impeachment, when they formally take control of the House next year.

At a press conference Wednesday, Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that his majority should not focus on "gotcha oversight" and instead should pursue "rock solid" oversight of sweeping legislation such as the financial regulatory reform bill.

Issa (R-Calif.) also said last month that there is "not a chance" the GOP will attempt to impeach Obama like they did President Clinton in 1998.

But Flake cautioned that it could be difficult for GOP leaders to rein in the wishes of some of its newest members, who rode in on a wave of anger with the economy and Obama's policies.

"I think that you cannot underestimate the difficulty that's going to come with trying to corral this bunch," the five-term congressman said.

"And that I think that's certainly a healthy situation, to have people come with an outside perspective, because certainly, the go-along-to-get-along attitude that we've had as Republicans for far too long has to be challenged," he added. "But that doesn't minimize the task that Speaker Boehner will have."