Yesterday, Rep . Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter raising serious concerns with Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's issuance of twelve subpoenas to Department of Energy (DOE) employees regarding its loan guarantee program.
Cummings wrote that Issa violated Committee Rules by unilaterally ordering depositions without first consulting with the Ranking Member. He also objected to Issa's decision to order four armed U.S. Marshals into the Department of Energy to physically serve subpoenas to employees.
"There was absolutely no reason for this type of intimidation since the Department would have accepted the subpoenas by email, as it has done routinely in the past, including with our Committee," said Cummings. "The subpoenas issued last week were particularly unnecessary and unwarranted given that the Committee has identified no evidence of improper political favoritism in the Department's loan guarantee program."
The Department of Energy has been cooperating with the Committee, has produced more than 600,000 pages of documents regarding the loan guarantee program, and has made the Secretary of Energy and other Department officials available for multiple hearings before the Committee.
"I am deeply concerned that some may view these latest actions by the Committee as abusive, or as an effort to escalate tensions and generate press before the November election, rather than a legitimate attempt to conduct responsible oversight," wrote Cummings.
In a related action, on August 31, 2012, the Department's Deputy General Counsel wrote to the Chairman expressing concerns regarding telephone calls from Republican Committee staff "with threatening references to U.S. Marshals coming to their homes to serve subpoenas."