Dems line up in favor of Benghazi boycott

House Democratic leaders are lining up behind a boycott of a special panel to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), made the case for such a boycott at a closed-door meeting of the Democratic Caucus in the Capitol Wednesday morning, a DCCC spokesperson said. 

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The news, first reported by The Washington Post, follows on the heels of comments by Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, urging his party not to back a special committee unless Republicans and Democrats were equally represented, as they are on the Ethics Committee.

The GOP's proposed 12-member panel would consist of seven Republicans and five Democrats.

"If it's not set up the way we do Ethics, I would be dead-set against it," Clyburn said Tuesday evening, according to multiple reports. "I'm not bringing a noose to my hanging."

The comments come ahead of Thursday's expected vote on GOP legislation to create a select committee to investigate the Sept. 12, 2011, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Democratic leaders have condemned the special probe as both a political ploy to humiliate the White House and an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars considering a number of standing committees have been conducting similar investigations for more than a year. 

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have not said whether they'd support a boycott of the panel, as the Democrats did with a similar committee investigating the government's 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina.

Instead, Pelosi and Hoyer sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Tuesday night urging changes to the proposed committee, including equal representation between the parties.

"If you truly want this new select committee to be bipartisan and fair - and to be taken seriously by the American people - we call on you to reconsider this approach before bringing this measure to the House floor for a vote," they wrote.

GOP leaders don't appear to have any interest in amending their bill, however. Indeed, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who will head the panel, said Wednesday morning that it only makes sense that the majority Republicans should have more members sitting on the committee.

“As the president loves to say, elections have consequences,” Gowdy said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.