Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Sam Graves are signaling their intent to subpoena a top Obama administration official to testify about a controversial White House proposal that conservatives allege is an attempt to intimidate administration critics.
White House budget director Jake Lew, in a Friday letter, declined a request from Issa and Graves to testify at a Thursday joint hearing of their committees on a draft presidential order that would require companies seeking government contracts to disclose contributions.
“Unfortunately, because this hearing concerns a draft presidential executive order that is still moving through the standard review and feedback process, we will be unable to testify,” wrote Lew, who heads the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Issa (R-Calif.) and Graves (R-Mo.) responded Monday with a sharply critical letter, concluding, “If the OMB continues to demonstrate an unwillingness to cooperate fully with the Committee’s oversight function, we will be required to consider the use of compulsory process.”
Asked if that meant a subpoena of Lew could be forthcoming, a Republican source familiar with the situation said “We’re getting there” and called the letter “another step in the process.”
House Republicans – who swept into power last year promising rigorous oversight of a Democratic administration they contend has implemented a vastly overreaching expansion of government – have previously issued subpoenas to Obama administration agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security and Justice.
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