April 24th, 2012

Rep. Issa on GSA criminal charges

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Darrell Issa (CA–R) spoke with CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer today about pending GSA criminal charges and about the Congressional request for a investigation of the Secret Service prostitution scandal. A highlight from the interview is after the jump; please visit http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2012.04.24.html for a full transcript of the interview.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Highlight from Interview

BLITZER:  Congressman, you’re also investigating a very separate General Services Administration scandal involving a bunch of officials who were partying, shall we say, in Las Vegas to the expense of nearly $1 million in taxpayer money.

It’s one thing to be stupid and irresponsible.  It’s another thing to be criminally charged, potentially with misconduct.  Is there any evidence you’re collecting that GSA officials were criminally responsible for any activity?

ISSA:  Yes, Wolf. The inspector general, Brian Miller has a referral under way and a number of the areas include misuse of GSA credit cards and allegations of bribery.

This related to the contractors that they had a relationship with and used them on a no-bid basis, and no bid is an important word in government because the GSA is the agency most responsible to make sure that we do have competitive bids.

That you simply don’t give your wife’s cousin a big contract without it being a low bid and that’s exactly what we believe happened in this case, but at GSA we believe it is more widespread and the tip of the iceberg, if you will.
BLITZER:  That sounds like almost like bribery, if you will, that would be a crime.

ISSA:  We believe the charges could include bribery and there could be a referral coming very shortly.

BLITZER:  Define very shortly.
ISSA:  In a matter of days if it hasn’t already happened.  The actual indictment process is one that we don’t directly participate in, but the inspector general does refer criminal charges at the conclusion of the investigation.  We believe he’s made the case for a number of crimes that can be included.

BLITZER:  Is that why that GSA official took the fifth and refused to testify before Congress?

ISSA:  It certainly could include.  The questions we had for him would not have caused to take the fifth, but the questions he might have been afraid of being asked as to his own criminal misconduct certainly would be justification for protecting his Fifth Amendment rights, which is what we think he did.

But he’s not the only one and we believe it will be much more widespread and as we continue looking over the shoulder and working with the inspector generals throughout government.  We think we’re going to find a lot of conferences just like this and a lot of poor use of taxpayer’s money and in some cases criminal activities.