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Hullabaloo


Sunday, May 11, 2014

 
Go Elizabeth

by digby

Warren smacks down Trey Gowdy:
I know a little bit about the way Trey Gowdy pursues oversight. I was on the other end of it when I was setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and I was called to testify before the House. As the Huffington Post reported at the time, Gowdy's interrogation of me "seemed to lack the basic facts" about the agency he was attempting to oversee. I'd like you to read their reporting on one of these exchanges just so you know what this Benghazi "investigation" is likely to look like:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) grilled Warren on whether the bureau would make public the complaints it gets. She answered that the complaint issue was a work in progress, but that at the very least, there was progress in creating a system for large credit card companies. 
"Are any of the complaints public?" Gowdy demanded. 
"Congressman, we don't have any complaints yet," Warren said of the still-nascent agency. "What we're trying to do is build the system." 
Gowdy also seemed to think that Warren had written the Dodd-Frank law, and he was determined to know what Warren meant by defining "abusive" practices as something that "materially interferes" with the ability of a consumer to understand a term or a condition. 
"That suggests to me that some interferences are immaterial. Is that what you meant by that?" he asked a momentarily perplexed-looking Warren. 
"Congressman, I believe the language you are quoting is out of the Dodd-Frank act," she said. "This is the language that Congress has adopted." 
Still, Gowdy insisted on her answer, although the definitions and regulations required by the law are still being written.

As a Senator, I take oversight seriously because it is powerfully important. But Trey Gowdy gives oversight a bad name. The House GOP is on a waste-of-time-and-resources witch hunt and fundraising sideshow, shamefully grasping for any straw to make President Obama, former Secretary Clinton, or Secretary Kerry look bad. This stunt does a disservice to those who serve our country abroad, and it distracts us from issues we should be taking up on behalf of the American people.

Here's more from Paul Waldman on Gowdy. He's an interesting character. Or perhaps, more accurately, a typical GOP clown:
Since House Speaker John Boehner announced the creation of a select committee to investigate the Benghazi affair, Republicans have been saying it will be a serious investigation, while Democrats have been saying it will be a partisan circus. To get a sense of who might be right, I spent some time watching YouTube videos of Rep. Trey Gowdy, the heretofore obscure second-term Tea Party congressman from South Carolina whom Boehner named to lead the committee.

There are a lot of these videos of Gowdy in congressional hearings, posted by conservatives, with titles like "Gowdy DESTROYS Obama Admin Stooge!" He's obviously very popular among the base. To call Gowdy prosecutorial would be an understatement. Uniformly angry and outraged, these videos show Gowdy always seemingly on the verge of shouting, he's so damn mad. Like any good lawyer, he never asks a question to which he doesn't already know the answer. But when a witness gives him an answer other than the one he expects, he repeats his question at a slightly louder volume and angrier pitch, as though the question hadn't actually been answered.

I'm already bored by this. I wonder if everyone else in the country is too? But it looks like we're going to get a Big Show with this fine fellow cracking the whip. I suppose he won't be literally shooting any watermelons but Dan Burton will definitely be there in spirit.

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