Benghazi panel used $150K in taxpayer money to settle wrongful termination lawsuit

Benghazi panel used $150K in taxpayer money to settle wrongful termination lawsuit
© Moriah Ratner

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyConway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Why the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MORE (R-S.C.), the former chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, used $150,000 of taxpayer money to settle a wrongful dismissal suit from a former staffer, according to a report Friday.

The Washington Post reported that the former aide claimed he was fired, in part, because he refused to focus his investigative work for the committee on former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats MORE.

The settlement appeared on a list of settlements released by the Office of Compliance (OOC) on Friday. The list disclosed that the OOC oversaw the $150,000 settlement to a claim of veteran status discrimination and retaliation.

ADVERTISEMENT

The former aide, Bradley Podliska, alleged that he was fired because of his refusal to focus on Clinton and because he took leave to fulfil his duties as an Air Force reservist.

That Gowdy and the committee had settled Podliska's lawsuit in December 2016 was previously known. The amount of that settlement was not previously disclosed.

Podliska's attorney, Peter Romer-Friedman, told the Post that he could not discuss the details of the settlement. But he said he was not aware of any other veterans status discrimination and retaliation cases brought in the past five years.

“I can confirm that my client is one person who brought a veterans status discrimination and retaliation suit against Congress and that the case settled on terms that were satisfactory to my client,” he said.

Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Gowdy, told the Post that the congressman never met or communicated with Podliska and referred the newspaper to the House Employment Counsel, the office representing members of Congress.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi closed last year after issuing its final report. Gowdy now serves as the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.