Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE (D-Fla.) has filed a House Ethics complaint against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHouse GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder Collusion bombshell: DNC lawyers met with FBI on Russia allegations before surveillance warrant Comey rejects request for closed-door interview with House Republicans MORE (R-S.C.), accusing them of violating chamber rules and federal law by using the panel as a vehicle to hamper Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate GOP pollster says polls didn't pick up on movement in week before 2016 election MORE’s presidential bid.

Grayson, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference MORE’s (R) open Florida seat, made the Wednesday filing after controversial comments by McCarthy, the front-runner to take over as House Speaker this fall, in which he highlighted how Clinton’s poll numbers have dropped since the committee’s creation.

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“The Benghazi Committee has been a political dog-and-pony show for its entire 17-month history,” Grayson said in a statement. “It has been clear even to casual observers that the purpose of the committee was never to investigate the tragic death of four Americans in a terrorist attack; it was to attack Hillary Clinton."

Grayson’s complaint to the House Ethics Committee notes that Committee funds can’t be used on “campaign-related expenses” and charges that the committee’s purpose is a veiled Republican attack on Clinton, who was secretary of State during the 2012 attack in Libya.

McCarthy’s comments prompted widespread criticism from Democrats, who see them as proof of long-time allegations about the committee.

The Majority Leader has since walked back those remarks, and Gowdy repudiated them  Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Well, he is a friend, but my first reaction is, ‘Kevin, you’re wrong,’ ” Gowdy said.

“If you look at what we’ve done, the 50-some odd witnesses we’ve already interviewed, not a single one has been named Clinton … The 50,000 documents that we have accessed, that no other committee has accessed, less than 5 percent has anything to do with her.”

Grayson is locked in a Senate primary battle with Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) for the seat being vacated by Rubio as he seeks the White House. Grayson's campaign has repeatedly attacked Murphy for being one of the seven Democrats to support the committee’s creation. 

Reps. Murphy, Ron BarberRonald (Ron) Sylvester BarberKavanaugh nomination a make or break moment to repeal Citizens United Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 Principles and actions mean more than Jeff Flake’s words MORE (Ariz.), John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick RahallNick Joe RahallWe shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) all joined Republicans in voting for the resolution that created the committee in 2014.

Barber, Barrow and Rahall lost reelection bids that year, while McIntyre has since retired.