Home National Politics Rep. Gerry Connolly Condemns Issa’s “Shameful” Trampling of Minority Rights, “McCarthyism”

Rep. Gerry Connolly Condemns Issa’s “Shameful” Trampling of Minority Rights, “McCarthyism”

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According to Rep. Gerry Connolly, the behavior of Rep. Darrell Issa (R) yesterday was not just some “inside baseball” or “petty squabbling,” but was “all about minority rights.” What Issa demonstrated yesterday was “profound disrespect…with respect to one of the most distinguished members of our caucus, the ranking member, Elija Cummings, who’s a real statesman.” As Connolly explains, “to have a chairman of a committee cut off another member’s microphone because he doesn’t want him to be able to speak while considering contempt against a woman who has invoked her constitutionally protected privilege, the 5th amendment, is a mountainous irony…a shameful episode.” To put it another way, Darrell Issa is a disgrace to the country and to the Congress, a throwback to the McCarthyism of the 1950s, and fundamentally unAmerican in the way he operates.

P.S. Connolly adds that “if I were a Tea Party Republican in this country, I would be really concerned about the actions of Darrell Issa and Company” in suppressing 1st Amendment rights while simultaneously undermining the 5th Amendment.

  • aznew

    That is, it isn’t just that Issa is a rank hypocrite. He is, but there is a more tactical reason why he shut Cummings down.

    According to joan Walsh over at Salon, here is what happened.

    Lerner did not want to testify without immunity — a perfectly reasonable position. In fact, it would be negligent for an attorney to allow her to do anything different.

    Apparently, her lawyer wanted to make what is known as a proffer to the committee in an effort to get his client immunity. A proffer is basically  a statement of what Lerner would say if given immunity, so the committee and prosecutors can decide whether it is worth it to trade the immunity for testimony.

    In the most classic case, immunity is typically given because the testimony will implicate someone more important.

    Further, according to Salon, Issa did not want to hear the proffer. Apparently, the optics of an IRS official taking the fifth is more politically expedient for Issa to exploit this particular non-scandal. As long as no one knows what Lerner will say, she could be covering up anything. Once her testimony is known, even through proffer, the “scandal” will no doubt dissipate everywhere except for the fevered swamps of right wing lunacy.

    That, apparently, is what Cummings was going to expose — that Issa had a chance to hear what Lerner would say, but declined to do so. And that is why Issa cut him off.

    In the end, I suspect, this will backfire on Issa. By drawing so much attention to the workings of the committee, he has almost guaranteed that his more serious transgression of not even wanting to know what Lerner has to say, will ultimately get more attention than it otherwise would have.

  • kindler

    …since the days of the big city political machines.  The first Mayor Daley of Chicago and his cronies would cut off the mikes of the reformist City Council members if they didn’t like what they were saying.  

    If this type of outrage is accepted, then we’re going backwards in a big way…

  • kindler

    …where Gerry being loud and outspoken is a very good thing!  Somebody with a quiet, mousy personality may not be as effective going up against these Tea Party thugs.

    Which may be a consideration in our choice of a member of Congress to replace Moran…