Congressman Darrell Issa, California Republican, told me he plans to grill Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu, when Secretary Chu comes before Rep. Issa’s committee today, House Oversight Government and Reform.
“He’ll be in front of my committee, and as you know, we deal with waste fraud and abuse. Scretary Chu’s repeated answer [on Monday] was that they had very few dollars that had led to criminal indictments and that’s their standard about wasting money,” Issa then explained, “So, we’re going of have a series of questions for Secretary Chu. ‘What is your definition of waste, if it’s only criminal prosecutions and what your saying is only bad behavior and bad decisions aren’t waste if only in fact a law is broken?’”
Chairman Issa has already gone after the Department of Energy of wasteful practices. In early March, according to The Hill, he shot off a letter to DOE criticizing the department for not providing electronic copies of documents asked for by his committee:
“This approach to producing documents wastes taxpayer dollars and is inconsistent with DOE’s stated commitment to reducing paper waste,” Issa said in the letter, noting that the department has sent his panel 300,000 “single-sided” pages of documents.
An administration source dismissed Issa’s allegations Friday, arguing that the cost of printing is small in comparison to the cost to the Energy Department of complying with the chairman’s requests for documents. The source said it is Energy Department protocol to provide paper copies of documents.
“In reality, the VAST majority of the cost of complying isn’t the printing, but rather the enormous amount of attorney time that it takes to collect, review and prepare the responses,” the source said. “The Department’s response has required thousands of hours of staff time from at least 12 separate DOE offices.”