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Mudslinging Comes Full Circle for House Oversight’s Darrell Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been receiving a lot of media attention for his gadfly role as ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Since the Obama administration took office, he’s aggressively pursued investigations against favorite GOP targets like ACORN and alleged wrongdoing by the administration in trying to keep Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate race. Last week, he released a report entitled, “How the White House Public Relations Campaign on the Oil Spill is Harming the Actual Clean-up.”

Yesterday, however, all his mudslinging appears to have been paid back in kind. San Diego’s CityBeat released an analysis of the local congressman’s 2010 financial disclosure statements and concluded that the investigators on Issa’s oversight committee “may want to start with Issa himself”:

Last summer, Issa went on a property-buying spree. In the span of two months, he bought industrial complexes in Oceanside and Carlsbad and a condo overlooking Oceanside Bay. Even his son picked up a home in Vista.

The Carlsbad complex, however, is at the center of a lawsuit playing out in Los Angeles County Superior Court. A bank lender in Ventura County is accusing a bank of selling Issa the building for at least $3 million less than it should have. [...]

The main lender, East West Bank, put the property up for auction but decided not to sell, instead filing a $12-million “credit bid” to hang onto it. Two weeks later, the bank sold the property to Issa’s company, DEI LLC, for $8.5 million.

In the complaint, Ventura County Business Bank—a secondary lender with an 8.3-percent interest in the original loan—accuses East West of negligence and “breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” The complaint alleges that East West did not properly market the property and that the bank declined offers to buy the property and loan that were “significantly in excess” of what Issa paid. It specifically states that East West “discouraged” a potential buyer from making an $11.5-million bid on the property, which could have resulted in a $3-million discount for Issa.

There’s no indication, at this point, that any sort of quid pro quo took place, nor is Issa mentioned directly in the suit. But a three million dollar windfall for a congressman does seem like the sort of scandal in which Issa would usually take a keen interest.

In addition, CityBeat goes on to detail Issa’s extensive investments in Goldman Sachs’ High Yield Fund and a potential conflict of interest that may have occurred when he launched an investigation against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the timing of their fraud lawsuit against Goldman.

“The Goldman Sachs thing is the most troubling,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s Melanie Sloan told CityBeat. “That he recently invested money with Goldman Sachs and then is making statements protective of Goldman Sachs suggests his views may be informed more by his own financial holdings than Goldman Sachs’ actions.”

As of 2008, Issa was the wealthiest member of Congress.

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