Rep. Issa Retiring

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the tech exec who became a prominent House member involved in communications/tech issues, has announced he will not be seeking re-election.

In an e-mail from Issa's office, the Congressman said: "Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve. Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District."

Issa, a former consumer electronics executive once active in the Consumer Technology Association, was active on a variety of communications legislative fronts, including rolling back FCC regs, the broadcast incentive auction, privacy, and copyright.

Issa was also co-founder last year of the Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Technologies.

Issa was CEO of Directed Electronics (the Viper car alarm) and chairman of the then Consumer Electronics Association (now CTA) before stepping down to run for Congress. He was elected in 2000. The announcement comes as CTA is holding its annual convention in Las Vegas, a convention Issa once presided over as chairman.

Issa is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which shares jurisdiction over communications issues with Commerce. The chair of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, announced late last year he would not be seeking reelection either.

Rep. Issa was also a critic of what he and others have termed patent trolls, companies they said were extorting money from small businesses. Some advocates for inventors countered that they were just trying to protect their intellectual property.

Issa backed patent reform legislation that his opponents said was a threat to that intellectual property. “We are very happy Darrel Issa is leaving Congress," said Adrian Pelkus, director of US Inventor. "This may mean an end to legislation damaging to inventors and startups," Pelkus said. "We now have an opportunity to elect leadership to reverse the damage Rep. Issa caused.”

The Recording Academy saw it a lot differently.

"Rep. Issa has been a great champion of fair compensation for artists," the academy said in a statement. "We will miss his friendship, leadership and humor. But before he retires, we look forward to finishing together the work we started to support music and to ensure that the current and next generation of creators are respected and compensated fairly for their work."

The latest announcement of an exiting Republican comes as Democrats look to make big gains in the midterms based on historic trends and the current President's tattered coattails when it comes to job approval. CNBC called Issa's seat a prime pick-off opportunity for Dems.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.