Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida Rep. Val Demings officially enters Senate race against Rubio Demings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio Demings planning to run for Senate instead of Florida governor MORE (D-Fla.) has filed a House Ethics complaint against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy 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 ClintonVirginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race Hillary Clinton: Casting doubt on 2020 election is 'doing Putin's work' MORE’s presidential bid.

Grayson, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? 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 BarrowOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Republican wins Georgia secretary of state runoff to replace Kemp The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of MORE (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick RahallNick Joe RahallOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 We shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs 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.