If irony hadn't been nearly obliterated in the past decade, much might have been made about his becoming head honcho of the committee once chaired by bulldog Democrat Henry Waxman. However, ThinkProgress may have resuscitated it with its look into financial records that show Issa was adding $600,000 to his multi-million-dollar investment in Goldman-Sachs at the same time last year that he was initiating an investigation of a Securities and Exchange lawsuit into alleged fraud at the financial giant.
"The events of the past five days have fueled legitimate suspicion on the part of the American people that the Commission has attempted to assist the White House, the Democratic Party, and Congressional Democrats by timing this suit to coincide with the Senate's consideration of financial regulatory legislation," Issa says [in April 2010].
Issa's staff tells CBS News that they currently have no hard evidence that the SEC violated federal law by colluding with the White House. But they argue the timeline and the circumstances are fishy, and they point to two things in particular: the announcement of the fraud suit the week before Democrats planned to bring their financial reform bill to the Senate floor, and the amazing speed with which Organizing for America managed to purchase a Google ad directing people who typed "Goldman Sachs SEC" on Google to donate money at my.barackobama.com once the news broke on the New York Times website.
Issa generated big headlines with this move. The SEC inspector general later concluded the commission had not let politics influence its decision to launch the fraud lawsuit, which Goldman settled out of court. The massive two-years-in-the-making final assessment of the financial crisis found, in the words of Sen. Carl Levin, that "Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress.”
Issa never took any heat for that. The question is whether he will now. As ThinkProgress discovered:
According to documents filed recently with the House Clerk, Issa went on a buying spree of high yield Goldman Sachs bonds at the same time he was running defense for the investment bank in Congress. From February to December of 2010, Issa bought 12 Goldman Sachs High Yield Fund Class A bonds, each worth up to $50,000 (view page 10 the disclosure here). Many of the bonds were purchased in the months after he filed his letter to the SEC. The $600,000 in new Goldman Sachs investments added to Issa’s already multimillion dollar stake in the company, valued from $5.1 to $15.5 million.
Issa has faced accusations that he has used his considerable political power to enrich himself. Earlier this year, ThinkProgress revealed that Issa had requested nearly $1 million in earmark projects that would have benefitted real estate owned by Issa and his family.
Matter and anti-matter have about as much chance of surviving a chance encounter in the same room as do ethics and Darrell Issa.