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FCW : December 2012
22 December 2012 FCW.COM DARRELL ISSA in building consensus on Issa s measure. "The administration needs less clumsy IT, and Issa s pro- posal addresses that and more," said Davis, who is now director of federal government affairs at Deloitte. "The table is set for the two sides to work together. They have to nd a rhythm." White House officials have been slow to comment on Issa s proposal. "Some in the adminis- tration are stand-of sh," partly because of concerns over Issa s past investigations, Davis said. That could complicate the chal- lenge of passing legislation that deals directly with the executive branch. But in another sense, it spares Issa from having to work closely with his former adversar- ies while he puts his imprint on the issue. It also creates opportunities for deal-makers who can bring the two sides together. Among those who seem ideally suited to the task are Connolly and Davis, who prior to his retirement in 2008 represented the same Northern Virginia district Con- nolly does now. Both men are self-styled centrists who served in local politics and rose to the influential post of chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Connolly, who noted that his district is the second largest center of technol- ogy employees in the country, said he hopes his support for Issa s proposal will send a positive message to con- gressional allies and the Obama admin- istration. "It s headed toward being a bill that other Democrats can sup- port," Connolly said. "But we are still in the early stages, and the bill has not been widely circulated." He has kept in close contact with Cummings, the oversight committee s senior Demo- crat, who often consults him on gov- ernment management issues. Issa's political future Issa has taken an active role in push- ing other bipartisan initiatives that seek to promote open government and restrict federal controls. Work- ing with senior Democrats, he has been a longtime supporter of propos- als to protect the rights of American creators and innovators. "Intellectual property creators should not have to fear the threat of government man- dates becoming an additional hurdle to their success," Issa said when he led a related bill last year with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). Issa also has vigorously opposed restrictions on Internet access. In a contentious battle last year over the Stop Online Piracy Act, he was a leading foe of the measure, which he said "lacked a funda- mental understanding of how Internet technologies work." The Internet and intellectual property bills are the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee, on which Issa also serves. On the oversight committee, he has taken a more traditional Republican approach in voicing opposition to excessive federal regulation and spending. In September, the committee issued a report that cited billions of dollars of alleged Medicaid overpayments to the states. The ndings could be useful for GOP de cit-reduction proposals. Issa feels an imperative to achieve results because he will reach the Republicans six-year limitation on serving as a senior member of a House committee after the 2014 election. That could open an array of options for him in California. He narrow- ly lost a GOP primary for the Sen- ate in 1998 and spearheaded the 2003 drive to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis but withdrew his candidacy to replace Davis when Arnold Schwarzenegger entered the contest at the last minute. Issa has also had an interest in join- ing the House Republican leadership, though he has lost two contests for lower-level positions and could face a roadblock in the form of fellow California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who serves as House majority whip. But as Issa has shown in his recent moves as oversight committee chair- man, he has an impressive dexterity to reshape the playing eld. ■ Richard E. Cohen has covered Capi- tol Hill for more than three decades and is the author of several books on Congress. "Darrell has a depth of knowledge on these issues.... And he has enough areas of common ground with the administration, which also has done some very good work in this area. " TOM DAVIS, DELOITTE
November 30, 2012