Benghazi panel talking point proven false

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Democrats claimed this week that the House’s special committee investigating the 2012 violence in Benghazi, Libya, was the longest inquiry of its kind, but fact-checkers on Friday proved them wrong.

In fact, there have been at least four special congressional committees charged with investigating various incidents that have run longer than the Benghazi panel, Politifact discovered.

The claim that the Benghazi committee had been in existence longer than any other special investigation committee was incorrectly reported by The Hill as well as The New York Times, ABC News and other media outlets.

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The existence of the former committees pokes a hole in a frequent talking point for critics of the Select Committee on Benghazi, including the campaign of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEmbattled pharma CEO endorses Trump RNC launches ad against 'Crooked Hillary' Sanders wins over W.Va. superdelegate MORE, who was secretary of State during the 2012 attack.

On Wednesday, a Twitter account run by Clinton’s campaign included the claim after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave the Benghazi committee credit for helping to bring down Clinton’s polling numbers.

“It's the longest running congressional investigation ever,” tweeted the account, @TheBriefing2016, which seeks to debunk GOP attacks on Clinton. “It's cost taxpayers $4 million. And what's it about?” 

A spokesman for the campaign said that it was relying on reporting in The Hill and other outlets.

The Select Committee on Benghazi was created last May, and has now been up and running for roughly 17 months.

Among the four committees that have run longer than the Benghazi panel are a 1970s panel charged with investigating the assassinations of former President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and an 1860s probe into conduct during the Civil War. 

The other two committees are a 1950s panel investigating criminal behavior in labor-management relations and a World War II-era special Senate committee created to look at defense contracts.