Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who will be chairing the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a top investigative committee in Congress, starting this week, is telling the Obama administration it had better hire more accountants.
Asked on Fox News Sunday by host Chris Wallace last weekend whether the White House is going to need more lawyers to deal with all the oversight investigations by his committee, Issa gave a heartening response, at least for CPAs.
“They're going to need more accountants,” he said. “The fact is that in the 1980s, Congress did about 1,600 days of oversight. That's a lot more than my committee alone could ever do. Last year, we did less than 400, far less. And that's with you being able to call it oversight, whether it is or it isn't. Looking for the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste, the president's Office of Management and Budget views $125 billion of misspending by Medicare, and yet year after year it doesn't change. That's 10 percent of the deficit that would go away if we simply stop paying to people who don't exist their claims. There is so much opportunity, but it's more of an accounting function than legal function. It's more about the inspector generals than it is about lawyers in the White House.”
Issa said in places such as his Twitter page on Monday that he plans to conduct oversight hearings in areas such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, stimulus-related spending, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the foreclosure crisis, corruption in Afghanistan, WikiLeaks, the safety of American food and medicine, FDA recalls, the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to “target” the origins of the financial crisis, and the “impact of government hyperregulation on job creation.”
Accountants in search of work in Washington may want to send their resumes to his office, as well as the White House personnel office. Incidentally, Issa introduced a bill last year to keep track of TARP spending using Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL (see Congressional Bill Would Require XBRL for Tracking TARP). He may be able to get some practical use out of XBRL technology at last.