Darrell Issa

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Darrell Issa currently serves the 49th Congressional district of California

Darrell E. Issa, a Republican, has represented the 49th District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. (map)

Record and controversies

Iraq War

Issa voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Calls to investigate climate scientists

After becoming the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa vowed to use his subpoena powers to “investigate” climate scientists, denouncing federal funding of their work as part of a “tsunami of opacity, waste, fraud and abuse," pointing to the manufactured controversy “Climategate” as evidence that scientists “played fast and loose with both the truth and our money.”[2]

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Issa cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[3]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007

2003 Gray Davis Recall

Issa came to national prominence when he contributed approximately $2 million towards the 2003 recall effort against California Governor Gray Davis. At the time he made the contributions, Issa intended to place himself on the ballot to replace Davis. Issa declined to run when he finished dead last in early polls.[1] He eventually endorsed Arnold Scharzenegger, and "some believe he deliberately dragged out his decision to endorse Schwarzenegger, which he did less than two weeks before the election, to turn the spotlight back on himself." [2]

Issa later said, "I wanted a change in California, and I got it," Issa said. "I wanted a good governor I could believe in, and I got it... This is a mandate for change, and I'm proud to be a small part of it." [3]

Middle East policies

One of only five Arab-Americans in Congress, Issa has been descirbed as a "conservative Republican with a powerful sympathy for the Arab cause." While he voted in favor of authorizing the War on Terror in 2001, the 2002 authorization of the War in Iraq, and supported a resolution backing Israel in its 2006 fight with Hezbollah, Issa has also been critical of the Bush Administartion for missing opportunities to win friends in the Middle East. ([4])

In December 2001, only 11 months after being sworn in as a Member of Congress, members of the radical Jewish Defense League (JDL) targeted one of Issa's offices for a bombing but were arrested by the FBI before they could carry out the attack. With several Jewish lawmakers standing alongside him, Issa, reacting to the news, said: “Perhaps in another country, we would be adversaries. We’re not going to be divided by ethnic backgrounds.” Rep. Tom Lantos, a Democrat and leader in the Jewish community, said he was “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder” with Issa “to condemn this outrageous act of domestic terrorism.” ([5])

Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel, a vocal and persistent critic of Issa's Middle East diplomacy had, just months earlier, questioned whether Issa was a "useful idiot or traitor" [6]. Issa and his aides have said Schlussel's columns influenced the JDL members in thier decision to target the Congressman's office. Schlussel, however, rejected this assertion and also condemned the attempted attack by the JDL.([7])

Campaign funding

People for the American Way reported that Rep. Issa's election campaign received $12,500, and his PAC received $5,000, from the Koch brothers.[4]


First elected to Congress in 2000, Darrell Issa currently serves on the House Government Reform Committee where he is Ranking Member of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, and the House Judiciary Committee ([8]).

Before Congress, in 1982 Representative Issa and his wife Kathy founded Directed Electronics in Cleveland, Ohio, as a maker of vehicle security products. In 1986 Directed Electronics moved to Southern California where the business began to expand rapidly. Automobile theft was rising dramatically, especially in major metropolitan areas, and Directed’s commitment to research and development led to advances in integrated circuit-controlled security systems that propelled the company to the forefront of the field. The Viper and Python brands were introduced, and sales more than doubled between 1989 and 1990, leading to Directed’s inclusion in the Inc. 500 the following year. In 1994, Issa received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young, and The San Diego Union-Tribune. During the 1990s, Directed’s sales grew substantially, as the company won dozens of awards, developed the first PC-programmable security systems, achieved quarter-mile range from keychain remote controls, and entered the burgeoning car audio business. In the year 2000, Directed purchased the Clifford and Avital brands and became the unrivalled leader in consumer branded vehicle security and remote start, which continues to this day. At the end of 2000, Darrell and Kathy Issa sold controlling interest in the company to Trivest, Inc., a private equity firm based in Miami, Florida, and stepped down from day-to-day operation of the company. ([9])

While Darrell Issa is perhaps best known as the leader of the successful effort to recall former California Governor Gray Davis in 2003, the self-made millionaire has also taken on the Interior Department, a U.S. attorney, and crossed a president of his own party. In 2007, an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune said Issa was well positioned to become a senior Republican voice for the San Diego delegation, an increasingly well-known authority on Middle East politics and a leading force behind the Justice Department's scrutiny of illegal-immigration prosecutions on the U.S.-Mexico border. ([10])

Issa, born November 1, 1953, in Cleveland, Ohio, enlisted in the Army during his senior year in high school and attended college on an ROTC scholarship. In the Army, Issa served as a bomb disposal technician, tank platoon commander, computer R&D specialist, and attained the rank of Captain. He is a graduate of Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan and serves as a member of the University Board of Trustees. Darrell and Kathy Issa are longtime residents of Vista, California. They have one son, William. ([11])

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated Jeeni Criscenzo, and the Libertarian Party nominated Lars R. Grossmith to face Issa in his November 2006 bid for reelection. Independent Ken Grandlund also announced his candidacy. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [12] Issa retained his seat.

Commitees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)


More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Darrell Issa. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
211 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0549
Phone: 202-225-3906
Fax: 202-225-3303
Web Email

District Office- Temecula:
Phone: 951-693-2447

District Office- Vista:
1800 Thibodo Road
Suite 310
Vista, CA 92083-7515
Phone: 760-599-5000
Fax: 760-599-1178

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Joseph Romm, "Rolling Stone names 12 politicians and executives blocking progress on global warming" Climate progress, Jan. 24, 2011.
  4. People for the American Way Anatomy of a Koch-a-Thon: Sham Budget Hearings Brought to You by the Koch Brothers, organization website, accessed April 28, 2011
  5. National Advisory Board, Arab American National Museum, accessed December 5, 2008.

External resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

External articles

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Subcommittee on Energy and Resources
Ranking Member On:

Subcommittee on Domestic Policy
Committees: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform/Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform/Subcommittee on Federal Workforce Post Office and the District of Columbia, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence/Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, House Committee on the Judiciary, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust/Subcommittee on the Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust/Subcommittee on Courts the Internet and Intellectual Property
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 7, 2000
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 2001
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
San Diego County Lincoln Club, Chairman of the Volunteer Committee for the 1996 Republican National Convention
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 1800 Thibodo Road Suite 310 Vista, CA 92083-7515
Phone: 760-599-5000 / Fax: 760-599-1178
2. Temecula, CA
Phone: 951-693-2447 / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: November 1, 1953