Here Are the Republicans Serving on the Benghazi Select Committee

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

View of the Dome from the East Side on July 16, 2012.
National Journal
May 9, 2014, 8:41 a.m.

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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