On Wednesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed complaints against Issa with the Justice Department and the Office of Congressional Ethics. Both complaints revolve around allegations that Issa violated federal law by including material from a sealed wiretap application in the Congressional Record.
Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and led the charge to secure a House vote holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. As part of the June 28 debate over the contempt charge, Issa placed in the Congressional Record information from a 2010 wiretap application that included specific details "concerning operational tactics and individual targets" of the law enforcement operation called Fast and Furious, according to the complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
For the average Joe, revealing wiretap information is typically against the law. By placing the document in the Congressional Record, though, Issa can claim protection under the Constitution's Speech and Debate Clause, which shields congressional speech from prosecution. The CREW complaint asserts that Issa should nonetheless be disciplined for his actions.
"It is shameful that an organization purporting to support good and transparent government is instead making itself complicit in an effort to cover-up a reckless government effort that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent," Issa's spokesman Frederick Hill told Roll Call newspaper.
PHOTO CREDIT: Darrell Issa, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua