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Retired Republican Rep: GOP Midterm Woes Due to Weak Oversight of Trump

Former Rep. David Dreier insists GOP-controlled House exerted oversight more forcefully in George W. Bush years

Former GOP Rep. David Dreier California said his Republican colleagues “did not do an adequate enough job” of holding the Trump White House accountable. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Former GOP Rep. David Dreier California said his Republican colleagues “did not do an adequate enough job” of holding the Trump White House accountable. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former Republican congressman chided his own party for losing control of the House, and said it was because it failed to aggressively check the White House.

“Oversight, which is a Constitutionally directed responsibility, is so critically important. And my Republican colleagues did not, I believe, do an adequate enough job,” former California Rep. David Dreier said in a local television interview.

Dreier spent more than three decades in Congress, including many years as chairman of the House Rules Committee.

An analysis published one week before the election found that 10 percent of Democratic ads in congressional as well as gubernatorial races centered on corruption.

Dreier retired in 2012. California Republicans reshuffled when the state redrew congressional districts, effectively boxing Dreier out of his seat.

Dreier asserted that Congress took a more muscular approach in the George W. Bush era.

“When President Bush was president and I was chairing the Rules Committee, we insisted on oversight among our committee chairmen,” Drier continued. “And we did a lot of it. Ours is a nation of institutions. We need to remember that, and Congress needs to exercise that (oversight) authority.”

That suggestion clashes with the accounts of Democratic members of the House at the time, who criticized Bush for not adequately supplying the legislative branch with information about the Iraq War.

Dreier was an ally of former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who in 2016 was sentenced to 15 months in prison for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and illegally structuring bank withdrawals in order to conceal the sexual abuse of a minor. During the trial, Dreier wrote a letter to the court on behalf of Hastert.

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Correction 9:45 a.m. | A previous version of this story misidentified the House committee that Dreier chaired.

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