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February 11, 2016

Boehner Satisfies Many Constituencies With Benghazi Panel Picks (Video)

Republicans named to Benghazi Committee include Martha Roby and Peter Roskam

Republicans named to the Benghazi Committee include Roby, middle, and Roskam, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday announced the Republicans who will serve on the special committee to investigate the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The Ohio Republican stood on the House floor and read off the names of the selected members before a chamber hushed in anticipation, noting in a statement following the selections that the investigation is about getting truth for the victims’ families.

“These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry. As I have expressed to each of them, I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi,” Boehner said in the statement.

The appointees are Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana. Boehner named Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina the chairman-designate earlier this week.

Boehner’s appointments were highly anticipated but the members he chose were not especially surprising to staff or reporters. Most of them had, in fact, been floated as contenders for the job throughout the week, and in choosing them, Boehner satisfied a wide breadth of constituencies within his conference, be they ideological, jurisdictional and in some cases, personal.

Boehner chose members who sit on most of the major committees who have investigated the Beghazi attack. He also chose members who have deep roots in the conservative movement while also ensuring leadership has a trusted ear on the committee.

Roskam, the highest ranking member on who will serve on the committee, is the conference’s chief deputy whip. As a sitting member of leadership, he will arguably be Boehner’s most steady hand on the panel, and is a former trial lawyer.

Jordan was widely said to be vying for a slot on the Benghazi panel and is, like Gowdy, a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the lead panel investigating the attacks thus far. A former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, he has a conservative pedigree sure to satisfy far-right members of the base who want the Benghazi committee to be sufficiently aggressive in its lines of inquiry.

Jordan is routinely floated as a candidate to head the Oversight panel if Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is not returned the gavel next year. Yet he has regularly butted heads with leadership, so placing him on the Benghazi committee could alleviate pressure to promote him on the panel next year, while giving the title to a more trusted leadership-friendly hand, such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Westmoreland is also trusted among House conservatives and has a seat on the House Intelligence Committee, where the Benghazi attack has been investigated. It was speculated that he would be appointed because he served as the head of the Benghazi Working Group, an assembly of lawmakers who regularly huddled to discuss the House’s investigation of the incident. He has also earned leadership’s trust as a member of the GOP whip team.

Pompeo, like Westmoreland, is a member of the Intelligence Committee; unlike Westmoreland, the Kansan is eyeing a promotion to top Republican on the panel in the 114th Congress to replace retiring Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

Since Pompeo is the least senior member interested in the slot, he’s not likely to beat out longtime Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a close ally of Boehner. The Benghazi committee will give Pompeo another place to shine and could avoid hurt feelings over the seat, which is appointed directly by the Speaker.

Nunes told the Washington Examiner earlier this week that he took himself out of the running to be on the Benghazi panel out of concern that if it stretched past the end of the 113th Congress, his participation would preclude being placed at the helm of the Intelligence panel.

Boehner, aides said, also knew the Benghazi panel needed gender diversity, having learned a hard lesson during the government shutdown about the optics of stacking a negotiating table fully with white men ( He picked women who made some sense, however, in Roby and Brooks.

Roby, like Gowdy a member of the historic 2010 class, has served as chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in which capacity she led that panel’s investigative work into the military’s preparation and response to the attacks in Benghazi. She is also trusted by leadership.

Brooks, Boehner’s sole freshman appointee, sits on the Homeland Security Committee and also on the Ethics Committee — an assignment made by the Speaker. Like Gowdy, she has a prosecutorial background, having served as a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

Democrats are still mulling whether they will participate in the special committee. Aides to Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have been in discussions about giving Democrats assurances that subpoenas and other matters handled by the committee’s majority are carried out in consultation with Democrats.

“I also urge my Democratic colleagues to treat this tragedy with the proper respect and appoint members so that we can finally, on a bipartisan basis, get answers, provide accountability, and help deliver justice,” Boehner said in the statement. “It is critical that this committee do its work in a focused, timely manner, so that the House can continue to make the economy and job creation its priorities.”

  • apostasyusa

    I want to know who is responsible for leaking to the press that this office in Benghazi was a CIA operation. Many foreign service agents have died because of this leak. Clearly whoever is responsible is more concerned with scoring political points than protecting our nation.

    I know why Republicans need this now. Republicans don’t have anything to show for the last 30 years. They have failed miserably at everything they promised their voters. They have failed miserably at running our country and it’s economy. Despite all the losing battles, Republicans still cling to the cynicism that has been eroding their base. Now what it takes for Republicans to win is desperation, to restrict voting rights(where they can) and fundraise off of the deaths of honorable men and women of our foreign service.

    I already know what happened at Benghazi. Some terrorist attacked the embassy and killed some US citizens. It’s a terrible tragedy, and it happens more often than we’d like to admit. Americans were killed many times at embassies while GW Bush was President and I didn’t hear a peep of outrage from Republicans or the media then.

    Isn’t this a double standard? How about 9/11? 3000+ died on 9/11 on US soil. Was that a failure of leadership? Would that be a good reason to never vote for Republicans ever again? Or how about what Republicans did to our country after they failed to stop 9/11? The war in Iraq that killed 4500 more Americans that was based on lies Republicans told America? The cost of the war in Iraq alone could have funded Social Security for 75 years!!! Republicans voters are clearly heartless morons.

    Sure, you Republican hacks can go on politicizing the deaths of honorable service men and women if you like, but don’t think for a second that Americans are stupid enough to pass judgement on Hillary for the actions of terrorists in a foreign land.

    Republicans in the last 30 years have only demonstrated that they are the most cowardly type of people our world has to offer. They truly have no qualities and this benghazi gate affair just shines a light on it.

    • Immir

      GOP = failure – you got that right.

  • David Howard

    Google “Michelle Obama is a man”

    • Immir

      Thanks for demonstrating the average Republican mentality so well. I am sure this is as valid as another Benghazi investigation.

  • Immir

    Hard to imagine anything more useless then a Republican, they have nothing to offer this country.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    There are more than 2.6 million unemployed workers without benefits since late last December. While the Republican Senate has made delay after delay, and have taken senate break, after senate break, these poor families have been left hung out to dry, without any means to live, and support their families. There is really a TRUE CRISIS here, which needs our attention and action. The Republicans must STOP holding the Extension Bill “Hostage” in the senate, and PASS the much needed bill to help these poor families in need. Many of these families have faced eviction, home foreclosures, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Lives are being ruined, along with these people’s credit rating. The Republicans should not use these families for “political Leverage”, and bargaining chips. They are using the XL Pipeline Bill in exchange for passing the extension bill. Where are their party’s so called” family values”??

  • Five Guyz

    Here we find our propagandist du jour relaying Hussein Obama’s threats of default on central government debt:

  • erick

    CIA documents prove that the attack on Benghazi was planned by Osama Darrell Issa the republican Taliban. Osama Darrell Issa was Bin Laden’s top Arab terrorist working in the united States.

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