Election 2018

Darrell Issa Retiring from Seat He Barely Won Last Time

The congressman leaves with a mixed record.


Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Darrell Issa, widely considered the most vulnerable Republican in this November's House elections, announced today that he is retiring from Congress.

Issa, who has represented his corner of California since 2001, chaired the House Government Oversight Committee from 2010 to 2015. There he led probes into whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted Tea Party groups; how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) lost track of illegally purchased U.S. guns it allowed to be taken to Mexico; troubles with Transportation Security Administration body scanners; and, of course, Benghazi. He also ended the preposterous congressional hearings into steroid use in baseball.

Unfortunately, little of this led to substantive action. Forget abolishing the IRS—Issa's investigations didn't even let us review or reduce the ATF's budget. As of 2016, nearly 800 body scanners were deployed at 157 airports.

Nevertheless, the investigations were still by and large far more useful than anything the committee, now obsessed with Russia, has produced in the last year.

Also on the plus side: In 2012, Issa prevented an amendment from gutting Texas Rep. Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill. (Paul's legislation passed the House unanimously but died in the Senate.) Issa also introduced a sensible bill last year aimed at preventing state licensing boards from self-dealing. A vocal critic of asset forfeiture, Issa recently tried to defund the Department of Justice's asset forfeiture fund.

In other ways, alas, Issa was an orthodox Republican. He voted for the Iraq war and the PATRIOT Act, and his zest for government oversight faded after President Trump took office.

He faced an uphill battle for re-election: Hillary Clinton won his district by nine points over Trump in 2016, when Issa won over his Democratic opponent by about half a percentage point. With today's announcement, someone else will have to carry the GOP's banner in the race.

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  1. Unfortunately, little of this led to substantive action.

    Seems like it led to one fewer incumbent.

  2. So he went from endless investigations into FOX News conspiracy theories that never went anywhere to a sham of an investigation into an actual conspiracy involving the president and a foreign adversary. Add making a fortune on car alarms, and that is one full life of utter soullessness.

    1. an actual conspiracy involving the president and a foreign adversary

      But enough about Barry and Hilldawg.

      1. Issa will go, but FOX News lives on.

        1. As does CNN, which has been particularly awful lately. Though I do not really watch either, except for tidbits here and there on Youtube. I have contempt for them both. That said, Greg Gutfield is one of the good ones across all major networks. At least he can be funny.

          1. I think most people under 80 consume news that way now. FOX gets the Archie Bunker oldsters, MSNBC the Meathead remainder. CNN’s major viewership at this point is people waiting for flights.

    2. an actual conspiracy involving the president

      Is it an actual conspiracy because you just know it is? I don’t really give a flying fuck one way or the other, but the lack of anything stable from either side of this retarded mess leads me to believe it’s nothing more than a retarded mess.

      1. Retarded mess was Tony’s nickname in pre-k.

        1. Only in Pre-K?

          1. After pre-k people stopped wanting to interact with him at all.

      2. I’d also like a clear statement or trail of breadcrumbs about what crimes were actually committed. Conspiracy to stuff ballot boxes? Commit or incite violence against and among opposition voters? Conspiracy to distribute ineffectual facebook ads? Conspiracy to Tweet?

        Seriously, I’m not up on election rules, is it illegal to be in the same room as foreigners or even foreign heads of State while running for (re-)election? Wouldn’t that seriously hobble incumbents from doing their job leading up to elections and prevent various secretaries and heads of state from ascending to the position to begin with?

      3. It’s possible everyone in the Trump orbit could come out clean as a whistle. But this isn’t some Darrell Issa dog-and-pony show.

    3. Like Obama’s Iran deal?
      Or Clinton? Justice Department meeting on the tarmac?
      Or Clinton mishandling hundreds of classified documents that others go to jail for?
      Or Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus to his friends (Shovel ready jobs right)
      What about the IRS targeting nominal citizens?

      Funny, Trump tweets and you go nuts but you can ignore actually crimes and conspiracy’s because it’s your team!

      Shouldn’t your mom be putting you down for a nappy.

  3. Darrell Issa Retiring from Seat He Barely Won Last Time

    Quit while you’re ahead.

  4. A vocal critic of asset forfeiture reform, Issa recently tried to defund the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture fund.

    Umm, what? Is Issa pro-forfeiture or anti-forfeiture? I am confused.

    1. Based on the linked article, either replace “critic” with “proponent” or remove the word “reform.”

    2. Fixed! Thanks.

      ?The Mgt.

      1. You’re welcome. I’m also available for other proofreading assignments. Just email me at grammar-nazi@aol.com

        1. Alternatively, he cannot be reached at the Ace of Spades blog.

          Because he is an idiot who got permabanned.

          1. Not sure why CBD wants to stir up shit a full year after the fact. Are you unhappy with how Trumpism is turning out? Feeling remorse, perhaps, and this is your way of lashing out?

            1. Well, it’s largely because you’ve learned nothing, remain an idiot, and are fun to poke.


              1. Oh I’ve learned a great deal over the past two years. Quite a lot.

            1. Damn, I didn’t know he was this radical.

              1. You should check me out when I’m in an excited state. I become a bi-radical. 🙂

    3. Umm, what? Is Issa pro-forfeiture or anti-forfeiture? I am confused.

      I’m also confused as to how I’m supposed to feel about his stance (or lack of) on government oversight. I think I’m supposed to understand that he gave up his opposition to executive overreach once Trump got into office. However, I think all the shrieking from TDS sufferers at Reason has rendered me deaf to that dog-whistle. That and all the dangerous, ineffective, pointless, wasteful, and redundant government oversight specifically cited by the article.

  5. Ugly stuff. I lack the optimism of most of you and think the Democrats will win the House this year (even as they lose Senate seats). This seat is permanently gone now, lost to Californization. Best idea for the Republicans, and the country, may be to try running one of you fire-breathing open-borders-extremist libertarians. Pick off some of those Mexicans that are transforming area politics.

    1. I dunno, man. Last time i tried breathing fire, six people ended up in the hospital, and i’m not allowed at that IHOP anymore.

      1. Too cosmo even for the International House of Pancakes? Man you are hardcore.

        Next time you leave the rowdy bar stunts at Applebee’s where they belong.

        1. I probably shouldn’t have told the fire marshal that nation-states are an obsolete concept, but i’d had a LOT of boysenberry syrup and wasn’t thinking straight.

          1. Just because they call it neverending pancakes doesn’t mean you need to actually go for it, dude.


              1. After I retire and pay my “debt to society” I am going to eat myself to death on IHOP neverending pancakes and butter pecan syrup!

                1. I remember that’s what happened to Dilbert’s Dad in the cartoon show. He just lived permanently at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet because he refuses to give in.

    2. Clarification: I have no idea how many citizens in that particular area are, in fact, of Mexican ancestry. But my understanding is that it is venerable California tradition to call all Latinos, regardless of origin, “Mexicans.” And I am surely cosmo enough to believe in showing respect for local cultures.

      1. I have no idea how many citizens in that particular area are, in fact, of Mexican ancestry.

        About 25%, but it’s a medium-affluent area of north San Diego County that also houses a marine base. Issa was the first candidate since the district’s creation in the early 90s to get over 53% of the vote, with the seat being held by Repubs more often than by Dems.

        It’s a very, very hard call, but I’d give the Dems slightly better odds at winning the seat, but I’ll bet we’re back to single-digit margins of victory.

        And the technical terms are “beaner,” “wetback,” or, for the traditionalist, “spic.”

        1. If you want to be international you can use “wachas” as well.

  6. Sounds like a good place to have a Libertarian candidate.

    1. Exactly. I think this is the type of place for a Gary Johnson-type “adult in the room” candidate, but with someone who is perhaps a bit more serious himself.

  7. “lost track of illegally purchased U.S. guns it allowed to be taken to Mexico”

    No, the guns weren’t illegally purchased. It is “disputed” whether the BATF “allowed” guns to be smuggled into Mexico. Back in 2012, Katherine Eban wrote a long article for Fortune about the affair, presenting a POV that may be superior to both 60 Minutes and Daryl Issa. I won’t miss Daryl, though I’ll give him points for opposing asset forfeiture.

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