Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) is getting ready to hit the bottom working as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in a potential GOP majority, overseeing a big portion of an investigation into President Biden’s administration that Republicans are promising.
Comer, who has been rating member on the committee since mid-2020, has three prime priorities for these probes and committee hearings: Hunter Biden’s enterprise dealings, the origins of COVID-19 virus and administration of the U.S.-Mexico border.
While Comer has to attend till he has the chairman’s gavel to name hearings on these subjects, Republican investigations have already began.
“We’re able to go in January. I imply, we’re able to go,” Comer stated in an interview final week, praising the GOP workers and investigators on the Oversight and Reform Committee.
Committee Republicans have already been pouring via a replica of Hunter Biden’s laptop computer exhausting drive. Earlier this yr, Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the rating member on the House Judiciary Committee, launched the contents of redacted parts of emails between Anthony Fauci and different prime public well being officers discussing the likelihood of the COVID-19 virus originating within the Wuhan lab. Comer has made a number of journeys to the border with Oversight Republicans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s aiming to change into Speaker if Republicans win management of the chamber, is crafting an inventory of gadgets that the House GOP needs to advance, calling it a “Commitment to America.” But even when Republicans additionally win management of the Senate, President Biden will stay in workplace, making it unlikely that conservative laws would change into regulation within the subsequent Congress.
That means investigatory actions will likely be some of probably the most potent instruments for a House GOP majority.
But Comer insisted that his investigation into the president’s son “isn’t a political witch hunt.”
“We worry that a number of of the selections that Joe Biden has made that had been dangerous choices for the American individuals had been made as a result of of being compromised, as a result of of Hunter Biden’s shady enterprise dealings,” Comer stated.
Such an investigation is more likely to elicit criticism from Democrats. Former President Trump’s curiosity in Hunter Biden’s enterprise actions, and his request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “do us a favor” and examine the Bidens, led to Trump’s first impeachment.
Comer teased that he’s “fairly sure” that President Biden did have data of his son’s enterprise associates and involvement in his financial institution accounts, opposite to what the president has stated.
He pointed to an alleged e mail from a Hunter Biden affiliate directing President Biden’s tax refund to Hunter. Comer has additionally requested Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen whether or not a Russian oligarch was left off a sanctions record as a result of a connection to Hunter Biden.
“Hunter Biden is a nationwide safety threat. That’s why he’s a precedence for the Oversight Committee,” Comer stated.
On the origins of COVID-19, Comer stated that “there was an effort early on” amongst prime well being officers “to attempt to spin the lab leak idea.”
And with the border, Comer stated he deliberate to press Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on some of his choices.
Aside from the marquee hearings and investigations, Comer additionally stated that subcommittees will likely be lively in working to root out waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement within the federal authorities.
“We have recognized numerous packages which are out of date, numerous authorities packages that should be reformed,” Comer stated. “We are doing tons of investigation and probing round fraudulent unemployment insurance coverage claims, fraudulent PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans.”
Comer criticized Democrats for not focusing sufficient on oversight of the federal authorities. At a committee listening to final week centered on allegations of office harassment and sexual misconduct within the Washington Commanders soccer group, Comer requested why the committee was probing that situation slightly than points within the authorities.
Comer stated he has studied all of the distinguished Oversight and Reform Committee hearings going again to former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who chaired the committee from 2007 to 2009.
Previous GOP chairs have been concerned with notable, headline-grabbing investigations into Democratic administrations and officers.
During the 2016 presidential race, then-Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) probed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a non-public e mail server to deal with categorised info.
As chair of the committee from 2011 to 2015, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) led probes into the IRS allegedly focusing on conservative teams and into Operation Fast and Furious, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program permitting unlawful gun gross sales to trace sellers and purchasers, some related to Mexican drug cartels. The latter investigation finally led to the House holding then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to show over paperwork.
The “secret” to being an efficient chairman, Issa stated, “is an open secret.”
“Henry Waxman was a really efficient chairman. He despatched out an nearly limitless quantity of inquiries, after which picked and selected the follow-up primarily based on solutions, no solutions,” Issa stated.
Some earlier Oversight chairs have leaned closely on the committee’s subpoena energy, however Comer indicated that he doesn’t plan to take action.
“Elijah Cummings despatched out so many subpoenas when he was chairman of the Oversight Committee that individuals disregarded these subpoenas,” Comer stated. “It was nearly like unsolicited mail.”
Comer stated that he solely needs to make use of subpoenas when “completely needed,” worrying that abuse of subpoena energy can create long-term harm for the committee.
“I need to be truthful,” Comer stated. “I need to hope that when my time is finished as Chairman of the Oversight Committee, they may say, ‘He was truthful, we didn’t attempt to do something overtly political.’ ”