- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2014

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, says his subpoena of the director of the White House’s political office remains in effect after the White House said the official was immune from being compelled to testify at a recent hearing.

Mr. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is trying to pressure the White House to buckle and allow David Simas, the director of the newly reopened White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, to testify to Congress.

Mr. Simas‘ failure to appear, despite having been compelled to do so by a lawfully issued subpoena, was contumacious, and the Committee is prepared to enforce its subpoena,” Mr. Issa wrote Friday to W. Neil Eggleston, counsel to the president.

White House lawyers have said that as an adviser to the president Mr. Simas is immune from having to respond to the subpoena Mr. Issa issued.

Mr. Issa says that taxpayers deserve to know about the activities of the White House’s political office, citing past violations of the Hatch Act, which restricts public employees’ ability to engage in partisan political activities.

He said the president can instruct Mr. Simas to claim executive privilege.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier in the week that there isn’t evidence that raises any concerns about the conduct of staffers in the political office and that he wasn’t sure invoking executive privilege would be necessary.

“Again, based on our willingness to answer all these questions, and based on the inability of the committee to marshal any shred of evidence of wrongdoing, I’m not sure that either side is going to need to resort to that,” Mr. Earnest said.