Darrell Issa, Getting Warmed Up

Rep. Darrell Issa, who will become a subpoena-issuing machine should Republicans take back the House, is apparently mad about Recovery.gov, the website where the administration puts information about the stimulus. It's pretty snappy for a government website, with all kinds of animations and interactive tools. But a new report Issa has issued says "Recovery.gov became a taxpayer-funded tool to promote false and misleading propaganda to support the Democrat-backed stimulus."

Now, a certain amount of propaganda from the administration is to be expected. Your tax dollars pay Robert Gibbs' salary, for instance, and his whole job is to tell America why the administration is totally awesome. But there are obviously limits. For instance, when the first round of George W. Bush's tax cuts were passed in 2001, the administration spent millions of dollars to send a letter to every American household, telling them, "We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed -- and President George W. Bush signed into law -- the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income taxes.'' This wasn't the check, mind you -- everyone got their checks later. "You need take no additional steps," it read. "Your check will be mailed to you." Now that's some propaganda.

To repeat what I've said before: Because Issa is only the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he can get an article in The Hill about his report, but he can't hold hearings and issue subpoenas, which means he can't create events around which lots of reporters will write stories. But if the GOP takes the House, he will have that power. And rest assured, he'll use it.

-- Paul Waldman

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