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August 21, 2014

Benghazi Committee: Democrats Warn Boehner About Partisan Makeup

Democratic Leaders 6 120512 445x264 Benghazi Committee: Democrats Warn Boehner About Partisan Makeup

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House’s top two Democrats are formally calling on Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, to revisit the framework for setting up a special investigative committee on the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland sent Boehner a letter late Tuesday evening calling the special committee’s makeup of seven Republicans and five Democrats “unwise.” Democrats sent reporters the letter around 11:30 p.m.

The letter comes ahead of a planned Wednesday House Rules Committee mark-up of a resolution establishing the new Benghazi panel. Rules is expected to pave the way for House floor consideration on Thursday.

In their letter, Pelosi and Hoyer stopped short of saying they would decline to appoint five Democrats from their caucus to serve on the panel, which will be chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. Several senior House Democrats, including Assistant Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., suggested a boycott earlier Tuesday.

The leaders used strong words to urge Boehner to rethink the text of the resolution creating the committee to ensure Democratic participation, arguing that the move to establish the panel is, like the overall investigation itself, politically motivated in an election year.

“House Democrats put forward several criteria to make the Select Committee on Benghazi truly bipartisan,” they wrote. “We asked that Democrats and Republicans should have equal representation on the panel. We also believe Democrats should have a real and equal voice on the committee, including (1) the issuance of subpoenas, (2) the manner in which witnesses would be questioned and deposed, and (3) the specific protocols governing how documents and other information would be obtained, used, and potentially released by the committee.

“In the draft resolution you provided today, you appear to have rejected these principles,” Pelosi and Hoyer continued. “If you truly want this new select committee to be bipartisan and fair — and to be taken seriously by the American people — we call on you to reconsider this approach before bringing this measure to the House floor for a vote.”

Republicans have countered that Pelosi isn’t one to talk. On Twitter, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck noted that Pelosi’s 2007 select committee on climate change was lopsided to favor Democrats, who were in the majority.

Read the full text of Pelosi and Hoyer’s letter below:

May 6, 2014

Dear Speaker Boehner,

The attacks in Benghazi were a national tragedy and we join the families of the four Americans who died in mourning their loss. It was appropriate for there to be bipartisan efforts to learn the facts around this tragedy, and there were thorough bipartisan investigations that found no evidence of a cover-up or an attempt to mislead anyone. Unfortunately, for the past year and a half, the House Republican investigations into the attacks in Benghazi have been characterized by extreme and counter-productive partisanship.

Republican staff reports have been issued with no consultation or input from Democratic Members, Democratic Committee Members have been denied equal access to witnesses, and fact-finding delegations to Libya have excluded Democratic Members, in violation of your own rules. In addition, documents and transcript excerpts have been leaked to the press without any official action by the committees.

This approach is not only unfair, but it is unwise. Republican Members have made numerous accusations in public over the past year that have turned out to be untrue after further investigation, undermining the credibility of the investigation and the House.

The House investigations stand in stark contrast to the bipartisan investigations in the Senate, in which Senators Lieberman and Collins issued a bipartisan report, as did the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

More than a new chairman is needed to correct the obvious deficiencies in this partisan Republican oversight. What is needed is a fundamentally different approach.

Earlier today, House Democrats put forward several criteria to make the Select Committee on Benghazi truly bipartisan. We asked that Democrats and Republicans should have equal representation on the panel. We also believe Democrats should have a real and equal voice on the committee, including on (1) the issuance of subpoenas, (2) the manner in which witnesses would be questioned and deposed, and (3) the specific protocols governing how documents and other information would be obtained, used, and potentially released by the committee.

In the draft resolution you provided today, you appear to have rejected these principles. To the contrary, your legislation would explicitly exempt the new select committee from adopting written rules.

If you truly want this new select committee to be bipartisan and fair – and to be taken seriously by the American people – we call on you to reconsider this approach before bringing this measure to the House floor for a vote.

Another partisan review that serves only to politicize these attacks is disrespectful and unworthy of the American people.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.

best regards,

NANCY PELOSI, Democratic Leader

STENY H. HOYER, Democratic Whip

Correction May 7, 11:30 a.m.

An earlier version of this post misstated the year the Benghazi attack took place.

  • dmacid

    Be careful which Dems they pick. Pelosi and her ilk will do everything to block all or any part of this investigation. They don’t want the truth to be exposed. She and many of her cohorts are in this cover up like all the dirty deeds. Keep Palosi out completely. She’ll do anything to sabotage this or any investigation. She is a close cohort of Obuttheads. In bed together with the admin. to take over America.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    It is interesting that Pelosi is offended by the fact that she says this is a election year ploy on Republicans side. Isn’t that exactly what the Democrats are being accused of doing? Giving the Democrats what they are asking for would be like having a court trial with the accused being able to control the power of the prosecutor to bring in the facts of the case.

    • David Lloyd-Jones

      “Isn’t that exactly what the Democrats are being accused of doing?”

      No.

      “Giving the Democrats what they are asking for would be like having a court trial with the accused being able to control the power of the prosecutor to bring in the facts of the case.”

      Again, no.

      It would be like, your choice, establishing an investigation rather than a witch hunt, or having a trial in which there were rules of evidence forbidding prosecutorial misconduct.

      -dlj.

  • semby

    Pelosi and Hoyer and disgraceful and no one takes them seriously.
    The never cared about Republican input regarding Obamacare.
    Do they really think the American people are the stupid; maybe and that is sad.

  • canto28

    I think the fact of political fabrications and coverup by Obama’s robots are already so clear, even to many democrats who protest the continued probe, that the committee cannot really fail even with no democrats on it. But I suspect the democrats, who already know the ugly truth, will definitely want on the committee some key democrats and favorable rules so that they can sabotage as much as possible.

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      Again what was covered up ?

      • canto28

        The fact that they knew within hours of the attack that it was an Islamic terror attack but, to protect Obama’s campaign, fabricated the talking points narrative that the murders were caused by a video inspired demonstration gone violent – a deliberate lie maintained for many days.

  • Charlene Weshley

    Our resident marxist agitator lied continuously about the anticipated effects of the 2013 sequester: http://youtu.be/YWElzVoOhpQ?t=2m35s

  • Hitched

    Compassion? Here we find liberal democrat Harry Reid playing politics with cancer-stricken children: http://youtu.be/O0lFyFJeZSY?t=1m22s

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