Elijah Cummings' Emergence as Obama's Defender Against "Phony Scandals" and Issa's Overreach; Robert Weiner and Nakia Gladden Oped in Baltimore Sun

Aug 26, 2013, 17:28 ET from Robert Weiner Associates

WASHINGTON and BALTIMORE, Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Democratic issues strategist Robert Weiner, a former White House spokesman and senior staff for three House Committees, and policy and research analyst Nakia Gladden are highlighting Rep. Elijah Cummings' (D-Balt) emergence as President Obama's biggest defender in the wake of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Chairman Darrell Issa's "overreach" and his concentration on "phony scandals."

According to Weiner and Gladden, in an oped in the Baltimore Sun online tonight and in hard copy tomorrow, "Cong. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, now the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has emerged as the leader and spokesman against what President Obama calls 'phony scandals.'  The Committee's Chairman, Darrell Issa (R-CA), has spearheaded the investigations into most of the scandals."  Weiner was the Committee's spokesman under former Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

Weiner and Gladden say, "In 2011, Issa revealed a list of important issues that he would focus on including: WikiLeaks, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis, corruption in Afghanistan, Food and Drugs Administration recalls, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's failure to pinpoint the cause of the financial meltdown.  Unfortunately, he has yet to provide answers on any of these issues."

Weiner and Gladden point out that, "Cummings stepped in during Issa's biggest 'scandal'-- purporting that the White House directed the IRS to target conservative groups with extra scrutiny for tax exemption.  Cummings pointed out that Issa, in his quest to blame the Administration, released 'suggestive excerpts' of an interview with workers of the Cincinnati IRS office that supposedly indicated the White House was involved.  After Issa had himself said he'd release the full transcript but then reneged, Cummings, against Issa's wishes, released the full interview transcript which completely debunked Issa's conspiracy theory.  The words instead revealed that the team leader, who identified himself as a 'conservative Republican', denied that 'he or anyone on his team was directed by the White House to take these actions or that they were politically motivated.'   Cummings also pointed out that liberal groups were evaluated as well,." Say Weiner and Gladden.

Weiner and Gladden cite that, "Cummings also wrote a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to stop partisanship in regards to Benghazi.  Issa had blamed Hillary Clinton personally for the event, stating that she signed off on security reductions which led to the deaths of four people including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  Cummings countered, 'The allegations are false, extremely irresponsible, and lack even a rudimentary understanding of how State Department cables are processed.'  Cummings pointed out that congressional Republicans had reduced Clinton's security request by a half billion dollars. The talking points memo turned out to be just the usual interagency staff process which settles on the least common denominator of lowest controversy—mid-level bureaucrats agreeing on wording of a memo.  Hillary was not involved."

Weiner and Gladden say that, "In 2011, Issa launched an investigation into Operation Fast and Furious—giving guns to Mexican criminals to track drug sales -- and he claimed that the Obama Administration deliberately lost track of the guns, boosting gun violence to further some plan to ban assault weapons.  Cummings pointed out there was no conspiracy and proved that not only did the program begin during the Bush Administration, but Issa voted to fund it in 2008. Cummings similarly sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to end a standoff with the White House over a contempt resolution against Attorney General Holder's involvement because a report had been issued with more than 100 errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations."

Weiner and Gladden point out that, "Cummings also scolded Issa in a letter about the Solyndra episode.  Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturing company, filed for bankruptcy despite receiving a $535 million government loan.  Issa intimidated and forced Federal employees to testify in hearings without legal representation.  Cummings stated that his actions were an extreme abuse of the authority of this Committee, contrary to the Constitutional concept of due process. He pointed out that Issa was magnifying the issue: Solyndra was one bad project out of a vast array of good ones—not everything works whether publicly or privately supported."

Weiner and Gladden assert that, "Perhaps Rep. Issa could learn from some of his predecessors on how to lead this exceptionally vital House Committee with its mission of investigative oversight.  Former Chairman Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) investigated and reported a half trillion dollars of government waste, fraud, and abuse in the Executive Branch, including weapons like the Patriot Missile, Harrier Jet, and Star Wars that DOD claimed worked perfectly but Conyers found had caused pilot deaths and security failures.  Conyers also exposed the Agent Orange cover-up and savings and loans crooks. Former Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) investigated White House ties to Enron, contract abuses in Iraq, and the EPA efforts to relax air pollutions and drinking water protections."

Weiner and Gladden point out that, "Cummings held a news conference at the National Press Club on straw purchasers who  buy guns for convicted felons and dangerous criminals who cannot legally buy guns on their own. He has also focused on secret federal loans to big banks, the postal service crisis, and a number of other issues that deserve attention."

Weiner and Gladden conclude by saying, "Overall, Issa has the unique position to hold government accountable and to make sure that tax dollars are spent efficiently.  Instead he has directed his attention to chasing scandal after scandal hoping to find Obama's 'Watergate.'  Without the leadership role that Cummings as Ranking Member is exhibiting, there would be no counter to Issa's public relations exploitation.  What Cummings has exposed is that the real scandal is Issa's waste and abuse of his power."

Robert Weiner, from Accokeek, MD is former spokesman for the House Government Operations Committee under Chairman John Conyers, and later a White House spokesman.  Nakia Gladden, a Baltimore native, is a research and policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates.

Contact: Robert Weiner/Richard Mann 301-283-0821 or 202-306-1200

SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates