Politics
In this May 15, 2013 file photo, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Thursday, Issa led Republican condemnations of the White House for the labeling of House investigations as "phony scandals". (Photo: AP)

Add another name to the list of 2016 hopefuls…

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Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is headed to New Hampshire, the destination for top presidential contenders and long shots alike leading up to 2016′s presidential season.

Issa will speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner for the Concord Republican City and Merrimack County committees on February 7, U-T San Diego reported.

“There are two conversations that will shape the 2014 and 2016 elections and there couldn’t be a better place to start those conversations than in New Hampshire,” Issa said in a statement. “The first is whether or not the Republican Party can define itself as the party that supports individual opportunity and American entrepreneurship so that you can be the engine of your own prosperity, not government. The second comes down to how comfortable the American people are with a large, invasive and powerful government that escapes accountability with no check-and-balance.”

Under Issa’s leadership, the Oversight Committee has regularly gone head-to-head with the Obama administration, particularly on issues like the attack in Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of applying heightened scrutiny to some conservative groups.

“From Operation Fast & Furious to the IRS targeting scandal to the disastrous implementation of the President’s health care plan, Congressman Issa has been standing with the American people to protect their right to know what this government is doing and we are very excited that he is coming to New Hampshire to headline our annual event,” Kerry Marsh, Chairwoman of the Concord GOP, said in a statement. “Every year, this dinner gets bigger and has become one of New Hampshire’s signature political events.”

“No one has worked harder to hold the Obama Administration accountable than Congressman Issa,” said Bryan Gould, Chairman of the Merrimack County GOP, in a statement. “President Obama and Washington Democrats are doing everything they can to impose big government mandates on all of us and it’s patriots like Congressman Issa who are standing-up to them and for all of us.”

Issa, whose name is not frequently mentioned among likely Republican 2016 contenders, joins a steady stream of potential presidential hopefuls who have made the pilgrimage to the Granite State in recent months. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Issa’s colleague, New York Rep. Peter King all made visits over the past year.

Kurt Bardella, whose firm Endeavor Strategic Communications manages Issa’s political communications, told The Daily Caller that this trip had nothing to do with any further political ambition on Issa’s part.

“Congressman Issa has been one of the leaders in the discussion about the appropriate role of government in our lives. This trip is an opportunity for him to continue facilitating and advancing that conversation, not about pursuing any other office,” Bardella emailed.*

A source close to Issa pointed out that Issa is a “prolific” fundraiser for other members of congress and said “he gets a lot of requests to speak at dinners and do events around the country.” Last year, he appeared at events in Pennsylvania for two fellow House members: Reps. Scott Perry and Bill Shuster.

*This post has been updated with Bardella’s comments and information from the background source.

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