Benghazi chairman pushes back against charges of partisanship

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A spokesman for the House Select Committee on Benghazi pushed back against criticism from Democrats that the panel’s chairman and the GOP are fundraising off the deadly siege. 

In a speech over the weekend, Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) touted the panel teaming up with appropriators to withhold non-security related funding from the State Department if the agency does not hand over additional documents relevant to the investigation.

He told the National Federation of Pachyderm Clubs in Chattanooga, Tenn., that lawmakers “tried public shame, it didn’t work. We’ve tried threats and subpoenas and letters, that hasn’t worked.”

{mosads}“What has worked was when we partnered with our friends on appropriations and let the State Department and other agencies know, your money will be cut if you do not provide us with documents,” Gowdy said to applause at the event, which was also attended by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

On Monday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the Benghazi panel’s top Democrat, chided Chairman Gowdy for mentioning the probe at what he considered a political event.

“Republicans continue to use the deaths of four brave Americans in Benghazi as a political rallying cry — and fundraising tool — which is offensive, reprehensible, and contrary to the promises we made to the loved ones of those who were killed during the 2012 attacks,” Cummings said in a statement.

“Chairman Gowdy should halt these activities immediately.”

On Tuesday, Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the select committee, refuted Cummings’s claims.

“A majority of Americans in a recent poll approve of how Chairman Gowdy and the Republicans are handling our fact-based investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” he said in a statement, referring to a CNN poll conducted last week.

Ware added that the panel had uncovered “poor record keeping and the failure of transparency at the State Department” and that many media outlets have reported on the funding threat.

“Chairman Gowdy noted this fact in his speech,” Ware said. “If some do not see the importance of government transparency for the people and don’t think it should be mentioned, then that is their own issue, but Chairman Gowdy believes in it.”

Tags Benghazi Trey Gowdy

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