“Everyone has a past” – Darrell Issa

Darrell Issa was 17 when he dropped out of high school to enlist in the U.S Army. Shortly after enlisting, a fellow soldier accused Issa of stealing his Dodge Charger. And, according to the New Yorker, it was not till after Issa was publicly accused, that the vehicle reappeared on the side of the road.

A few months after being accused of stealing a car by a follow soldier, Issa and his brother were arrested for stealing a red Maserati. According to Media Matters for America, Issa and his brother were arrested just one month after Issa left the Army.

While driving the wrong way down a one way road, Issa was pulled over by the police. According to the New Yorker, after finding a handgun and a tear gas gun in Issa’s car, Darrell Issa was arrested by the police for carrying a concealed weapon.

In 1979, when Issa was 26, he and his brother, William, were indicted for grand theft. According to Media Matters for America, shortly after being indicted, Darrell Issa was involved in a hit and run that put the driver of the other car in the emergency room.

Darrell Issa’s business career began with what this New Yorker article describes as a hostile takeover of a business called, “Steal Stoppers.” Issa utilized unorthodox management tactics while he ran Steal Stopper, including one incident when he displayed a gun before firing an employee.

In 1982, a large fire burned down the Steal Stopper office and factory. A St. Paul insurance company fire-analysis report suggest that the fire started in two different areas and was aided by a flammable liquid. According to these reports provided by “The Issa Files,” Issa had removed the company’s computers out of the building, moved key documents into a fireproof safe, and increased the fire insurance coverage from $100,000 to $462,000, all within a few weeks before the fire.

In 1985, Darrell Issa founded Directed Electronics Inc. He would go on to be one of the largest California donors to Republican candidates, according to the LA Times.

In 1998, Darrell Issa ran for Senate in California. He self-funded his campaign with $10 million, and he raised $400,000 in contributions. Ultimately, however, he did not win the Primary. According to this article in the New Yorker, Issa’s campaign suffered when reports about his past were made public.

In 2000, Darrell Issa was elected to Congress; and although he is chair of the Oversight Committee, his own past, and his ethics, have been the subject of constant scrutiny as reported here on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

After being elected to the Congress, Darrell Issa contributed $1.6 million to start the campaign to recall California Governor, Gray Davis. Issa then tried to run against Governor Davis in the recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger received the Republican Party endorsement, however, not Issa. And according to this Daily Kos article, Darrell Issa was more than a little saddened by the ordeal.

For more information on Darrell Issa’s past, visit: http://www.scribd.com/IssaFiles