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Darrell Issa subpoenas W.H. tech official for Obamacare hearing

November 9, 2013

Darrell Issa is shown. | AP Photo


House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a subpoena to top  Obama administration technology official Todd Park late Friday requiring him to  testify at a hearing on the bumpy Obamacare rollout on Wednesday.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance and are rapidly  approaching a point where they must prepare for the possibility of having no  health insurance on Jan.1, 2014,” Issa wrote in a letter to Park. “They deserve  your sworn testimony before their elected representatives about what went wrong  — not simply the media outlets that White House officials have deemed an  appropriate use of your time away from working on the website  project.”

“Given your [continued] unwillingness to appear voluntarily  next week, I am left with no choice but to compel your appearance,” Issa  wrote.

(QUIZ: How well do you know Darrell Issa?)

The hearing is expected to focus on the technological problems that have  snarled the federal Obamacare enrollment website ever since it launched in  October.

An Obama administration spokesman blasted the move.

“This is an unfortunate and unnecessary step since we made clear several  times that Todd Park is willing to testify,” said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for  the Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We had hoped the Committee would  work with us to find an alternative date to give Todd time to focus on the  immediate task at hand: getting the website fixed.”

“We are reviewing the subpoena and will respond as appropriate.”

The subpoena came just hours after the Obama administration challenged Issa  to explain why Park needs to testify next week about instead of  next month, demanding that Issa choose “cooperation over confrontation.”

PHOTOS:  Obamacare online glitches: 25 great quotes)

The administration had insisted he couldn’t testify until early December  because of his role in repairing the website.

“These efforts to accommodate your interest in hearing from Mr. Park were  rebuffed and met instead with a subpoena threat in your letter yesterday,” Donna  M. Pignatelli, assistant director for legislative affairs wrote in a letter to  Issa. “You explained that the Committee feels it has a duty to conduct oversight  of the Executive Branch, but conspicuously absent from your letter was any  statement or justification that would explain the legislative need to compel Mr.  Park to appear next week as opposed to a few weeks from now.

” [The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy] is left to wonder  why you would demand Mr. Park appear on November 13, knowing that doing so is  more likely to hurt rather than help the goal of fixing the website as soon as  possible,” the letter stated.

CREDIT TO:  Jennifer Haberkorn / Politico

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