Issa’s Gall

He is forced to concede by CNN’s wonderful Candy Crowley that even his cherry-picked statements from IRS employees prove absolutely nothing for his working assumption that the president somehow organized an inquisition of Tea Party groups via the IRS. Watch him come up completely empty:

Note his bald description of Jay Carney: a “paid liar.” Maybe this is a good opportunity to revisit the past of the chief moral scold and smear artist in Washington. He’s been arrested for being a car thief, suspected of being an arsonist, and exposed as a proven liar. Let’s take the arson first, shall we?

Issa had a warehouse full of electronics that, one night in 1982, caught fire. Investigators later found “suspicious burn patterns,” Ryan Lizza reported, and found that Issa had done some odd things.

A co-worker claimed that before the fire, Issa had put important electronic prototypes in a fireproof box, and that he’d removed the business’s computer and financial files from the building. Investigators also found that less than three weeks before the blaze, Issa had increased the company’s fire insurance from $100,000 to more than $400,000.

“So you add the more than quadrupling of the insurance along with the taking the computer and putting the other stuff in a fireproof box, and you can see why both the arson investigators and the insurance investigators pointed a finger, you know, at Issa after this fire,” said Lizza.

Issa said he had nothing to do with the fire, but the insurance company refused to pay the claim. The two later settled out of court…

The insurance company, meanwhile, had found something peculiar about Issa, unrelated to the arson: there was no indication of where his initial capital came from. After interviewing a family member, an investigator reported, “She was unable to advise us as to his financial banking [sic] to become an officer in Quantum Inc.” A second report noted, “We were unable to find the source of his financing for the business ventures he is engaged in at the present time.”

Classy guy. Now the car thefts. Ryan Lizza again:

A member of Issa’s Army unit, Jay Bergey, told Williams that his most vivid recollection of the young Issa was that in December, 1971, Issa stole his car, a yellow Dodge Charger. “I confronted Issa,” Bergey said in 1998. “I got in his face and threatened to kill him, and magically my car reappeared the next day, abandoned on the turnpike.”

On March 15, 1972, three months after Issa allegedly stole Jay Bergey’s car and one month after he left the Army for the first time, Ohio police arrested Issa and his older brother, William, and charged them with stealing a red Maserati from a Cleveland showroom.

The brothers were indicted for grand theft. Darrell argued that he had no knowledge of William’s activities; William claimed that his brother had authorized him to sell the car, and he produced a document dated a few weeks before the robbery that gave him power of attorney over his brother’s affairs. On February 15th, with the investigation ongoing, Darrell returned to the San Jose dealership and repurchased his car, for seventeen thousand dollars. In August, 1980, the prosecution dropped the case. Darrell insisted that he was a victim, not a criminal. William had produced evidence that he had the legal authority to sell the car, and the injured party was reimbursed.

No one’s past is perfect and everyone deserves a second chance. But if you apply the standards of evidence Issa uses to indict the president – pure innuendo, speculation and smears – then you can fairly say that Issa was a likely car thief, con-man, and arsonist. Having figured out how to steal cars, he then repurposed his expertise to set up a company to prevent car theft. In the end, it made him a multi-millionaire. And former crook.