Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the richest member of Congress. He’s also one of the most corrupt, and his criminal career started long before he assumed office. In his younger days, cars had a way of disappearing around him. He was once indicted for car theft, and he and his brother attempted to carry out a fraudulent insurance claim (they later repurchased the car, reported as stolen, from the dealer, prompting the police to drop the case). Later, a warehouse he owned burned down under suspicious circumstances. He also pled guilty to weapons charges after getting pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
Since the election of Donald Trump, Darrell Issa has voted in favor of the Trump agenda 100 percent of the time. Last time he was up for reelection, he won with only 50.3 percent of the vote—less than 2,000 votes. His district went for Hillary in 2016, so it’s clear that Issa sees the writing on the wall—he’s unlikely to win reelection even if he tries. Nonetheless, his retirement makes the seat much easier for Democrats to win, further increasing the chances of a Democratic House after the midterm elections later this year.
Constituents were joyous at the news, and a crowd shortly formed outside of his office celebrating his decision to remove himself from Congress. Video was posted to social media showing a jubilant crowd, which you can view below:
Euphoric crowd outside Darrell Issa’s office https://t.co/kVtpXtCoe4
— Rachel (@the_dol) January 10, 2018
Social media reacted with an outpouring of support:
Every long-term Republican that leaves Congress is a victory, and Issa’s departure basically forfeits the district to a Democrat. Although it would be nice to see him held accountable, removing his ability to determine public policy is still a major victory.
Issa’s announcement comes two days after another California Republican, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce, announced his own retirement — leaving a nearby Orange County district amid a strong Democratic push for his ouster. Democrats have generally eyed California seats as a key component on their path back to the House majority.
Issa rocketed to national prominence during his four years as Oversight chairman, during which he mounted aggressive investigations into Obama’s administration that fueled attacks from the growing tea party movement and made him a cable-news stalwart. His targets included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” operation that was implicated in the death of a Border Patrol agent and allegations of political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service.
In 2012, Issa launched one of the first congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attacks, which resulted in the deaths of two diplomats and two CIA contractors during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. The Oversight investigation paved the way for the later appointment of a select committee that continued probing the incident as Clinton pursued her run for president.
This is just one of the many signs that the current White House occupant has a tough year ahead of him. It’s looking less and less likely that Republicans will be able to cling to power in Congress.
Featured image via Justin sullivan/Getty Images