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Calif.'s Rep. Issa moves to impose transparency on Michelle Obama

March 26, 2009 |  4:57 pm

First Lady Michelle Obama

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is quietly mounting a legislative campaign to impose more transparency on the public policy work of First Lady Michelle Obama and anyone else of either gender or party who someday holds that office.

Politico's Josh Gerstein details a combative recent committee markup session that includeCalifornia Republican Representative Darrell Issad an emotional debate over the propriety of such a move by an opposition Republican member and the suggestion that Democratic President Obama might regard this as a personal attack on his wife.

Issa, the five-term ranking GOP member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from California's 49th District, denied that, citing Obama's oft-promised transparency and adding, "I believe this is open government at its finest."

"What is protection to one person may be just the opposite to another," one Democrat replied.

Issa's amendment, since withdrawn but expected to be re-introduced later, would require that meetings regularly involving any president's spouse be usually open and announced in advance. Democrats did not like the idea.

But Issa responded:

We should have a set of rules that future presidents, vice presidents, first ladies and spouses of vice presidents, understand what their do’s and don’ts are. Can they have an open meeting? Can they have a closed meeting?

A spokeswoman for the first lady had no comment. Don Surber takes a somewhat harsher view here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: Getty Images (top); Associated Press (Rep. Darrell Issa).

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