Benghazi panel used $150K in taxpayer money to settle wrongful termination lawsuit

Benghazi panel used $150K in taxpayer money to settle wrongful termination lawsuit
© Moriah Ratner

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyTop intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father Overnight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' Flynn told associate Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’ early in Trump presidency MORE (R-S.C.), the former chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, used $150,000 of taxpayer money to settle a wrongful dismissal suit from a former staffer, according to a report Friday.

The Washington Post reported that the former aide claimed he was fired, in part, because he refused to focus his investigative work for the committee on former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE.

The settlement appeared on a list of settlements released by the Office of Compliance (OOC) on Friday. The list disclosed that the OOC oversaw the $150,000 settlement to a claim of veteran status discrimination and retaliation.

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The former aide, Bradley Podliska, alleged that he was fired because of his refusal to focus on Clinton and because he took leave to fulfil his duties as an Air Force reservist.

That Gowdy and the committee had settled Podliska's lawsuit in December 2016 was previously known. The amount of that settlement was not previously disclosed.

Podliska's attorney, Peter Romer-Friedman, told the Post that he could not discuss the details of the settlement. But he said he was not aware of any other veterans status discrimination and retaliation cases brought in the past five years.

“I can confirm that my client is one person who brought a veterans status discrimination and retaliation suit against Congress and that the case settled on terms that were satisfactory to my client,” he said.

Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Gowdy, told the Post that the congressman never met or communicated with Podliska and referred the newspaper to the House Employment Counsel, the office representing members of Congress.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi closed last year after issuing its final report. Gowdy now serves as the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.