HOH’s One Minute Recess: Final Countdown, No. 8

Posted December 22, 2010 at 10:42am

From a Congressman refusing to pay his cab fare to a certain staffer misusing a listserv, 2010 was a good year for gossip. As the year winds down, HOH will count down our top 10 items of the year. We’ve sifted through dozens of columns and found the most salacious, titillating and hilarious gossip of the year.

At No. 8 is a story involving soon-to-be Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Shaq and an annoying car alarm.

“The Diesel Rips Off the Viper” From April 19

When Rep. Darrell Issa launched the security company Directed Electronics more than 25 years ago, the California Republican set out to stop automobile theft. So who would have known that a 7-foot-1-inch basketballer-turned-rapper would end up ripping off an iconic part of Issa’s own work?

Issa was honored by the Recording Academy at the annual GRAMMYs on the Hill event Wednesday evening for supporting legislation requiring radio stations to pay artists when their music is played on air. And Issa told the audience that he personally feels the artists’ plight, as he also had his work played over the airwaves without earning any royalties: NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal used the Congressman’s voice, without permission, on one of his rap albums.

(Remember when Shaq was a rapper?)

Issa’s voice appears on Directed Electronics’ trademark product, the Viper car alarm, which scares away car thieves with the blaring phrase, “Please step away from the car.” Shaq ended up sampling Issa’s Viper recording on one of his rap songs, the Congressman recalled.

“So, I know what it is like to get played on the radio and not get paid,” Issa said.

Issa never ended up going after Shaq to get his share of the rap song’s royalties, a spokesman tells HOH. But don’t feel too bad for the Congressman: With an estimated minimum net worth of $164 million, Issa is considered among the richest Members of Congress.