Editorial: California political ethics watchdog is losing its bite
State Rep. Tom McClintock has been a public servant for more than a decade and is considered one of the most reasonable lawmakers in California, but when it comes to taking on powerful people he’s as blunt as he is reasonable.
Last month, he filed a lawsuit against fellow Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, the House Oversight Committee chairman, regarding a request for his personal emails from 2005 through 2006.
The congressman denied the request, so McClintock said he is going to ask a federal judge to grant him the documents that were “wrongfully acquired” by the committee.
It is only fair to say that any political pressure that was applied by Issa was not at all helpful to McClintock’s side. The congressman also took a swipe at McClintock during last month’s debate, saying: “But you don’t have to be an idiot to tell the facts.”
It’s clear he’s a person most concerned about fact. What I found curious is that such a person doesn’t just talk about the facts – he has to look them up himself, or else he would be an idiot. Just ask Chris Christie.
Just last year, Republican Party Chairman Rob Stutzman and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told McClintock they were going to put him in charge of a new government ethics review commission. Newsom was a lawyer. Then they said he wouldn’t have to give the Republicans a majority of the required votes to make the commission work.
Stutzman also said it was unfair of him to be “sitting out in the corner” as a member of a committee on the Constitution, a place where he has a long history of being fair and impartial.
McClintock, however, has now made the decision to fight this battle, and if he prevails, it would be an improvement in California’s political culture that we would never forget. To put the matter in a way that I would hope was not misinterpreted: this is a fight he should have