GOP accuses Dems of 'wasting' $2 million in Benghazi probe

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Democrats have wasted $2 million of taxpayer money to defend Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump team may let Christie lead debate prep Trump, Clinton to headline Al Smith dinner Clinton camp touts 40 more GOP endorsements MORE and impede Republicans’ investigation into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, GOP lawmakers said on Friday.

Republican leaders of the House Select Committee on Benghazi attempted to turn the tables on Democrats, who have repeatedly bemoaned the extended investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack. 

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“While Democrats on the Benghazi Committee have made a big show of pretending to care about the cost of this investigation, they’ve made zero meaningful contributions and spent virtually all of their time and effort on undermining and obstructing the committee’s work, directly contributing to its length and cost,” committee spokesman Matt Wolking said in a statement.

“Their incessant politicization of legitimate congressional oversight is appalling and grotesque, and only proves that the process could have been completed much faster if Democrats had helped with the work instead of delay it.”

Democrats have protested the work of the investigatory panel since it was created more than a year and a half ago. They claim that the committee’s work is a solely partisan endeavor designed to tear down Clinton’s presidential run.

Yet of the roughly $5.5 million spent by the committee, Wolking claimed, Democrats were responsible for $2 million.

“Of course, their motivations are obvious,” he said on Friday. “They’ve endorsed the former secretary of State for president, and will no doubt continue to act as a full-fledged arm of her campaign, wasting taxpayer dollars on everything but getting answers for the families of the victims who were left without adequate security on Sept. 11 [2012] in one of the most dangerous places in the world.”

A Democratic spokesman shot back at the GOP criticism.

"It is disappointing, and frankly sad, that Republicans are trying to blame Democrats for their wastefulness and ineffectiveness on the Benghazi Committee,” a spokesman said. “Democrats tried repeatedly to request an organizational meeting, adopt rules, develop an investigative plan, and speed up the investigation, but Chairman Gowdy refused every time.

“As a result, the Republican investigation has been widely condemned by even the most conservative commentators as inept and dysfunctional."

The Democrats’ opposition was given a significant boost last year, when multiple Republicans appeared to agree that the panel was created to target Clinton.

Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyClinton IT aide pleads Fifth, skips hearing House Oversight subpoenas FBI for Clinton investigation documents Clinton emails wiped clean after NYT story MORE (R-S.C.) and other GOP members have forged ahead despite the controversy. Lawmakers have been interviewing former Obama administration officials this month and say they will release the final analysis later this year.  

This story was updated at 11:04 a.m.