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Here Are the Republicans Serving on the Benghazi Select Committee Here Are the Republicans Serving on the Benghazi Select Committee

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Congress

Here Are the Republicans Serving on the Benghazi Select Committee

But it’s still not clear if any Democrats will be joining them.

(Shante Hayes)

May 9, 2014

While House Democrats are still mulling over whether or not to boycott the newly formed House select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, Republicans have chosen their members who will serve on the panel.

Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana; Jim Jordan of Ohio; Mike Pompeo of Kansas; Martha Roby of Alabama; Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia will fill six of the seven slots designated for Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner had previously picked South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, to serve as chairman.

"We're going to get to the truth, plain and simple," Jordan said before the committee picks were announced. "Gowdy is uniquely equipped with his skill sets, his demeanor."

 

Indeed, many of the members are lawyers and serve on committees that have previously investigated the attacks, which left four Americans dead. Gowdy has already compared the upcoming panel's work to a trial, saying on MSNBC, "It would be shame on us if we intentionally dragged this out for political expediency. On the other hand, if an administration is slow-walking document production, I can't end a trial simply because the defense won't cooperate."

Gowdy, Brooks and Jordan serve on the House Oversight Committee, which has held numerous hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks and the Obama administration's response.

Westmoreland sits on the the Intelligence Committee and serves as chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee. He had convened an informal group of lawmakers to examine the previous Benghazi investigations, and concluded that multiple committees were hampering efforts at fact-finding.

Pompeo also serves on the Intelligence Committee, and Roskam is the deputy whip. Roby is a former lawyer who used to be on Armed Services. Jordan is chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Jordan said Thursday that there were "three questions that need to be answered" ­in the context of the select committee: why the administration ignored requests for additional security before the attack, why the response during the attack was not more immediate and forceful, and where the narrative that the attack sprung out of a video and protest originated.

"We're going to get to the truth, plain and simple," Jordan said before the committee picks were announced. "Gowdy is uniquely equipped with his skill sets, his demeanor."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats are considering how to participate in the committee. The panel has spots for seven Republicans and five Democrats -- a makeup which won't change -- but Democrats want equal access when it comes to issuance of subpoenas, documents and other things.

Democrats huddled on Friday afternoon to discuss their options after Boehner sent them an email laying out the way the committee will operate. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called the letter from Boehner "a slap in the face," but said that Democrats had yet to make a final decision about whether they would participate in the committee.

"It is actually worse than the current situation that we have in Oversight and Government Reform. It's a step backwards," Cummings said, arguing that the new rules could allow the majority to call witnesses and issue subpoenas with consent from Democrats. "The conversations will continue between the speaker and the leader. But I was extremely disappointed with the response."

In a statement, Boehner said he urges "Democratic colleagues to treat this tragedy with the proper respect and appoint members so that we can finally, on a bipartisan basis, get answers, provide accountability, and help deliver justice."

The House is now in recess for the next week, though conversations could continue over the phone. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Friday morning that her caucus remained divided into four distinct groups: those who favor sending a full delegation of five Democrats to the committee regardless of the rules, those who favor sending one member to report back to the conference, those who want to pull out of the process entirely and those who are still holding out hope for discussions between Republican and Democratic leadership.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Rep. Roby's connection to the House Armed Services Committee. She formerly sat on the committee.

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