Should Democrats Boycott the Benghazi Committee?

Pelosi says they want equal representation.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Pelosi called on House Speaker John Boehner to cancel next week's recess until the House passes an extension of unemployment insurance.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
May 6, 2014, 6:43 a.m.

House Demo­crats still have to de­cide wheth­er to play ball on the se­lect com­mit­tee to in­vest­ig­ate Benghazi, as House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi calls for equal rep­res­ent­a­tion between parties on the pan­el.

Demo­crats will def­in­itely be vot­ing against cre­at­ing the com­mit­tee this week, say­ing that it’s a highly polit­ic­al en­deavor that is un­ne­ces­sary giv­en pre­vi­ous com­mit­tee hear­ings on Benghazi. But with Pelosi call­ing for an equal ra­tio of Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats on the com­mit­tee, she is giv­ing her col­leagues an out to not sit on the com­mit­tee should there be un­even num­bers of Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats — if it’s un­even, Demo­crats could ar­gue that it’s un­fair and there­fore they shouldn’t par­ti­cip­ate at all.

“If this re­view is to be fair, it must be truly bi­par­tis­an. The pan­el should be equally di­vided between Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans as is done on the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee,” Pelosi said in a state­ment Tues­day. “It should re­quire that wit­nesses are called and in­ter­viewed, sub­poen­as are is­sued, and in­form­a­tion is shared on a bi­par­tis­an basis. Only then could it be fair.”

House law­makers are mak­ing their way back to Wash­ing­ton today, and will likely dis­cuss strategy in­form­ally dur­ing even­ing votes and dur­ing their con­fer­ence meet­ing Wed­nes­day morn­ing. If Demo­crats don’t par­ti­cip­ate at all, Re­pub­lic­ans will have a mono­poly on the wit­nesses called and ques­tions asked.

Some Demo­crats, such as Adam Schiff of Cali­for­nia, who sits on the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, have already called for boy­cot­ting the com­mit­tee. “I don’t think it makes sense for us to give this se­lect com­mit­tee any more cred­ib­il­ity than it de­serves,” he told Fox News Sunday. “And frankly, I don’t think it de­serves very much.”

A boy­cott wouldn’t be un­pre­ced­en­ted; as re­cently as 2005, Pelosi and then-Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id both re­fused to ap­point Demo­crats to a Re­pub­lic­an-led se­lect com­mit­tee to in­vest­ig­ate the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­sponse to Hur­ricane Kat­rina.

On Monday, a top Demo­crat, Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er, wouldn’t com­mit one way or an­oth­er on a boy­cott, say­ing that de­tails on how the com­mit­tee is or­gan­ized will need to be seen first.

It’s un­clear how the com­mit­tee will be made up. But in ref­er­ence to Pelosi’s state­ment, a spokes­man for House Speak­er John Boehner noted that in 2007, Pelosi over­saw the es­tab­lish­ment of a se­lect com­mit­tee on glob­al warm­ing made up of nine Demo­crats and six Re­pub­lic­ans.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., will be chair­man of the Benghazi com­mit­tee. He told The Green­ville News that he hopes Demo­crats will par­ti­cip­ate. “I still be­lieve that cer­tain things, if done the right way, can tran­scend polit­ics,” he said. “If I didn’t think [the se­lect com­mit­tee] could, I would not have ac­cep­ted the chal­lenge.”

What We're Following See More »
CYBER THREATS INCREASING
Clapper: ISIS Will Try to Attack U.S. This Year
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

“Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional panel today. Clapper added that “al-Qaida, from which the Islamic State spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program.”

Source:
CLYBURN WEIGHING HIS OWN NOD
CBC PAC to Endorse Clinton This Morning
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton this morning, and “nearly a dozen CBC colleagues will descend on” South Carolina next week in advance of that state’s important primary. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the highest ranking black member of Congress, reversed his earlier position of neutrality, saying he’ll make a decision “later in the week.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has pointed out that the CBC PAC is not the same things as the CBC itself, while the Intercept notes that 11 of the 20 board members of the PAC are lobbyists.

Source:
MORE TENSIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA
Senate Votes 96-0 to Sanction North Korea
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Senate echoed the House’s move last month to stiffen sanctions against North Korea. The bill “would sanction anyone who engages in, facilitates or contributes to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cyber security and the provision of materials for such activities.” Senate Democrats said they expect the president to sign the bill. In related news, after South Korea suspended operations at a jointly run power station in the North, Pyongyang declared the area a military zone and cut off a hotline between the two countries.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
×