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CBC and House Democrats demanding the Darrell Issa removal as Oversight Chairman

Today, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-08), regarding House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (CA-49) conduct.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) (C) orders ranking member U.S.Rep. Elijah Cummings' (D-MD) microphone turned off after adjourning a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The conduct in question came during yesterday’s committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service, when Issa shut off the microphone of House Oversight Democratic Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah Cummings.

"I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this," said Cummings at yesterday's hearing of the committee. Issa had just cut off the microphone of the Cummings.

"Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this," Cummings said, as Issa spoke over him again cutting off the microphone. The two leaders of the House Oversight Committee got into a shouting match over whether Cummings had a right to speak, and the dust-up led lawmakers on the panel to shout "shame."

Fudge's letter said in her letter to Boehner that "The American people have the right to expect that their elected leaders be held to the highest possible standards of conduct."

Continuing, Fudge said, "Congressional committee leaders are held to an even higher standard due to their unique positions. The abuse of authority and misuse of the Congressional privileges afforded them are an affront to the expectations of the American public. Congressman Darrell Issa of California abused his authority and therefore must be reprimanded to ensure the dignity of the House of Representatives is preserved."

Fudge is calling for the removal of Issa as chairman of the House Oversight Committee. "On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus and the people we represent, I urge you to take immediate action to address the recent deplorable conduct of Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa." Fudge added that "Mr. Issa’s conduct is unequivocally unacceptable for a member of the House of Representatives."

"Under the applicable Rules of the House, we strongly encourage you to take disciplinary action against Mr. Issa and force him to present himself before the American people on the House floor with an apology," asked Fudge of House Speaker Boehner.

"Mr. Issa not only violated House Rules 9 and 23, he also violated the rules of the committee he chairs. According to Oversight & Government Reform Committee Rule 9 and House Rule 11, each member is allowed five minutes to question a witness during a Congressional hearing. Mr. Issa blatantly disregarded this rule when he adjourned the hearing and denied committee members the opportunity to speak in the middle of the customary five minutes afforded to Ranking Member Cummings. Mr. Issa is a disgrace and should not be allowed to continue in a leadership role," said Fudge.

Fudge ended her letter, "As the Speaker, you are responsible for maintaining decorum and appropriate conduct in the House of Representatives and ordering the Sergeant at Arms to enforce House rules. We urge you to take prompt action to maintain the integrity of this body and remove Mr. Issa as chair of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee immediately."

Later in the day, Cummings and other Democratic Ranking Members from several Committees will held a press conference to discuss this "disturbing and pervasive theme of Republicans obstructing the legislative process, shutting out Democrats for political gain, and ignoring the priorities of the American people."

Those members were Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Sandy Levin (D-MI), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Ranking Members of the Committees on Judiciary, Ways and Means, Rules, and the Budget respectively.



Washington Post - Letter from CBC Chair Marcia Fudge

TIME - House Hearing On IRS Scandal Descends Into Shouting Match

The Daily Caller - Darrell Issa angrily adjourns Oversight hearing after Lois Lerner pleads the Fifth

Fox News - Issa, Cummings clash at hearing after ex-IRS official Lerner takes 5th


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