Leisure class Issa

Staffer stops included a private tour of UK parliament

Darrell Issa
  • Darrell Issa
  • Image by Gage Skidmore

A staffer for North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa has again ventured away from Washington and “met with European leaders in London and Brussels concerning policy issues affecting commerce and innovation in the U.S,” according to an April 13 travel disclosure report. Legislative director James Tyler Grimm got the weeklong free trip, valued at $2915, including travel, food, and lodging, from Washington’s Progressive Policy Institute.

“As the original ‘idea mill’ for President Bill Clinton’s New Democrats,” the think tank “has a long legacy of promoting break-the-mold ideas aimed at economic growth, national security and modern, performance-based government,” according to its website. The group is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, the so-called centrist Democratic organization once derided by Jesse Jackson as “Democrats for the Leisure Class.”

Featured stops along Grimm’s Continental way included a “private tour of UK parliament” and “dinner with Mr. Martin Kettle, Associate Editor, the Guardian,” as well as an evening meal with “Labour members of Parliament,” and a sit-down with Daniel Korski, listed as a special advisor to British prime minister David Cameron. A year ago, Issa aide Ellen Dargie was hosted by the institute on a similar European tour, valued at a total of $2996. Funding for the institute has been provided by the nonprofit foundations of global corporations.

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Why is a GOP congressman sending his legislative director to a Democratic think tank event?

Because they wouldn't learn anything at a Republican think tank event?

Maybe it's just sort-of a Democratic think-tank event, much like the Democratic Leadership Council and former President Bill Clinton. Once you cross over, demarcations become fluid, flexible, blurry. Kind of like Bill himself and his wife, Hillary Clinton -- rich as Croesus and hawkish on foreign policy.

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