House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa quietly made plans to travel to Benghazi, Libya, this weekend, but he didn’t invite Democrats along for the trip, and the Dems are none too happy about it.
The trip was revealed by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, who said he found out about the journey only via a copy of the itinerary his staff obtained Friday. Cummings is calling on Issa to postpone the trip so Democrats can come along.
“I am writing to request that you immediately postpone your upcoming delegation to Libya and several other countries until you come into compliance with your own committee directives, stop your partisan efforts to deliberately exclude Democrats from this trip, and provide adequate notice to allow Democratic members to join this delegation at a later date,” he wrote in a letter to the California Republican on Friday.
Issa’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Cummings cited a 2011 memo Issa wrote upon becoming chairman, which stated, “All delegations must be bipartisan.” Cummings also faulted Issa for listing the purpose of his trip on the itinerary as “TBD,” while the memo said every country visit must have a specific purpose.
Presumably, the trip is part of the Republican-led investigation into last year’s terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in the Libyan city. Democrats charge that the investigation has been beset by partisanship since the beginning, and that it long ago lost any resemblance to an impartial investigation.
Yesterday, Issa lambasted Democrats for leaving a hearing on the attack before family members of those killed could testify. But as Dave Weigel noted, most of the Republicans had left as well. House Republicans, meanwhile, took to their blog today to assert that “Benghazi was a cover-up.”
UPDATE (4:55 p.m.): At a hearing Thursday, Issa raised the possibility of a Benghazi trip to Democratic Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Ill. and Mark Pocan, Wis. without mentioning that he already had one in the works:
Issa: “If you’re available along with Miss Duckworth, I would love to have you go on the next trip to the region and we can begin looking at what recommendations we could help with.”
Pocan: “I think that’s a great suggestion. I’d love to do that.”