White House contests GOP subpoena of top Obama political adviser
WASHINGTON — The White House is opposing congressional Republicans' subpoena of a top political adviser to President Obama to testify this week, saying the demand threatens the constitutional separation of powers.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston sent a letter on Monday to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, asking him to lift the subpoena of David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. But Issa's spokeswoman says Simas was still expected to appear at a hearing on Wednesday, which will examine whether the White House political office is an abuse of taxpayer funds.
Administrations of both parties have maintained in-house political shops at the White House. A 2011 report by the independent Office of Special Counsel criticized a longstanding practice by both parties of using the political office for systematic, campaign-related activity.
Obama closed the White House Office of Political Affairs in 2011 but reinstated a political office under the new name earlier this midterm election year, slimmed down from 15 staffers to six, with Simas in charge. Issa, R-Calif., has been demanding that the White House turn over all documents relating to the reopening of the office.
“Chairman Issa has allowed that if the White House provided the requested information to the committee, he would reconsider, but at present, Mr. Simas is still expected to appear at Wednesday's hearing,” Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins said.
Eggleston said his staff was planning to brief Issa on Tuesday on the political office's compliance with the law. Eggleston objected to the subpoena coming three business days before the hearing.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.