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WH: Benghazi panel 'blatantly political and partisan'

The White House on Friday greeted news that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had formalized the House select committee on Benghazi by dismissing the effort as "a blatantly political and partisan effort."

"It's unfortunate that House Republicans continue to pursue this in a highly partisan [way] — in fact they themselves have acknowledged how political it is and how oriented it is towards trying to raise money and trying to motivate their base for a midterm election," White House press secretary Jay Carney told MSNBC.

On Friday, Boehner tapped GOP Reps. Peter Roskam (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.) and Martha Roby (Ala.) to serve under Chairman Trey Gowdy (S.C.) on the panel.

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“This investigation is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people,” Boehner said in a statement. “These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry. As I have expressed to each of them, I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi.”

Carney didn't offer a critique of the members named to the panel, but argued the committee would not find any new information and sarcastically suggested Boehner had launched it "presumably because the six previous investigations by Congress, by Republicans, were somehow not adequate."

"I think if you saw, as other have commented, Republicans are fundraising off this effort," Carney said. "What you have seen all along is through every investigation — the conspiracy theories that have fueled Republican interest in this have all fallen apart."

Boehner on Friday also called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name her own appointments to the panel. Democrats have not yet decided whether they would participate, and have voiced concern that their party is not equally represented on the panel.

Carney said the White House would defer to Pelosi on the issue.

"We leave it to Leader Pelosi and other Democrats in the House to make decisions about how they will participate or not participate," Carney said.

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