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Cummings Responds to Issa Subpoena to Secretary of State

May 2, 2014
Press Release
Cummings Responds to Issa Subpoena to Secretary of State

Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2014)—Today, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa took the unprecedented step of issuing a unilateral subpoena demanding that a sitting cabinet Secretary testify before the Oversight Committee—in just over two weeks—and accusing him of a crime.  Chairman Issa did not first send a letter making his request, he did not call to determine if the Secretary would be in the country, and he did not hold a Committee vote on his subpoena.  

In response to Issa’s subpoena, the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, stated:  “These actions are not a responsible approach to congressional oversight, they continue a trend of generating unnecessary conflict for the sake of publicity, and they are shockingly disrespectful to the Secretary of State.”

Issa has received 12 Pinocchios over the past 12 months from the Washington Post Fact Checker for his false claims about Benghazi. 

Just yesterday, in “a rare rebuke of Issa from a member of his own party,”the Republican Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee issued a press release stating that Issa’s showcase hearing witness “did not further the investigation or reveal anything new” and “did not serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into operational options available to commanders.” 

Chairman Issa’s actions stand in stark contrast to the way the Committee has previously handled similar issues.  For example, Chairman Henry Waxman issued a subpoena in 2007 to require Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to testify only after he had sent multiple letters requesting her testimony and after a full debate and vote by the entire Committee.  Even after the Committee voted to issue the subpoena, Chairman Waxman worked with the Secretary to identify a date that worked for her schedule, ultimately postponing the hearing more than four months.

At the time, Issa opposed the vote to issue a subpoena to Secretary Rice, complaining about “the inappropriateness of hauling the secretary of state … out of the performance of her job.”

See the correspondence here:

March 12, 2007, letterfrom Chairman Waxman renewing previous  requests for information from 2003, 2004, and 2005.

March 30, 2007, letter from Chairman Waxman requesting testimony from Secretary Rice after receiving no response.

April 9, 2007, letter from Chairman Waxman reiterating request for testimony.

April 17, 2007, letter from Chairman Waxman postponing Committee vote to subpoena testimony.

April 25, 2007, vote by full Oversight Committee to issue subpoena for testimony from Secretary Rice.

May 14, 2007, letter from Chairman Waxman postponing hearing with Secretary Rice because she would be in Moscow.

June 12, 2007, letter from Chairman Waxman postponing hearing to review additional documents submitted by Administration.

October 25, 2007, hearing with Secretary Rice.

113th Congress