Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been pressing for an investigation of Countrywide Mortgage’s “VIP Program,” under which powerful Democrats like Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd received sweetheart mortgages, apparently as bribes. On Thursday of last week, as the committee was about to meet, the Republicans said that they wanted a vote on whether to subpoena Countrywide’s records on the VIP program. The Democrats were between a rock and a hard place: the last thing they want to do is investigate their own party’s corruption, but at the same time, they don’t want to be seen voting to cover up the Countrywide scandal.
So what did the Democrats do? To a man (or woman), they hid. They failed to show up for the scheduled committee mark-up, leaving the Republicans sitting there by themselves in the committee room. The Democrats claimed that they didn’t show up because of a conflict with a Finance Committee hearing, but in fact they were there, and were caught on video sneaking out a back door of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s offices. The Republicans made this entertaining video of the incident:
That’s not quite the end of the story. The Democrats, led by committee chairman Edolphus Towns, were stung by ridicule that resulted from Thursday’s debacle. So now they’ve locked the committee room:
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) locked Republicans out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee room to keep them from meeting when Democrats aren’t present.
Towns’ action came after repeated public ridicule from the leading Republican on the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), over Towns’s failure to launch an investigation into Countrywide Mortgage’s reported sweetheart deals to VIPs.
For months Towns has refused Republican requests to subpoena records in the case. Last Thursday Committee Republicans, led by Issa, were poised to force an open vote on the subpoenas at a Committee mark-up meeting. The mark-up was abruptly canceled. Only Republicans showed up while Democrats chairs remained empty.
The web page maintained by the Republican minority on the OGR committee is worth checking out. What a joke–the corruptocrat Democrats pretending an interest in government reform!