Ethics office asked to investigate Issa over anti-Obama video

Watchdog group CREW has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) violated rules by producing a video that attacks President Obama.

The video, titled “Obama State Dinners: Spend Like He Says, Not Like He Does,” compares Obama’s denouncement of a lavish $840,000 General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas to two expensive State Department dinners that hosted leaders from India and Mexico and included a performance by the singer Beyoncé.

{mosads}Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleges that Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, misused government resources for political purposes in making the video, which the group describes as “nothing more than a negative political advertisement against President Obama.”

“The attack ad offers no information about any action whatsoever by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” CREW wrote in its letter to OCE.

“In fact, the only purpose of the ad — particularly given its release just days before a hotly contested presidential election — is to attempt to elicit outrage against the president for holding state dinner at a time when Americans are facing fiscal difficulties.”

The video was made by the committee and posted on the committee’s YouTube channel.

Issa’s office criticized CREW for having liberal leanings and for defending Democrats while hammering away at Republicans. Issa spokeswoman Becca Watkins said the group’s allegations are baseless and that the chairman is in full compliance with House rules.

“CREW is funded by anonymous liberal donors seeking to further a partisan political agenda against meaningful oversight of this administration,” said Watkins in a statement. “Independent reviews of the organization have found that its complaints lack credibility. This frivolous complaint, like others CREW has made at the behest of their far-left benefactors against Chairman Issa, has no merit.”

Watkins also highlighted a number of tweets by CREW that trumpet news in favor of Democrats and critical of Republicans. 

The video has the sounds of champagne bottles being uncorked and poured into a glass. There are also background sounds of glasses being clinked together in a toast, and of people booing as the GSA conference price tag flashes across the screen. The video highlights $500,000 that was spent on a state dinner with leaders from India and a $969,793 dinner with Mexican heads of state.

This is not the first time CREW has lodged a complaint against Issa with the OCE.

In July, the group asked the board and the Justice Department to investigate whether Issa violated the law by entering information contained within federally sealed wiretap documents into the Congressional Record. Issa did so as part of his case for placing Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress during his investigation of the “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.

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