Politics & Government

May 7, 2014

House Democratic leaders say GOP-dominated Benghazi panel is 'unfair'

House Democratic leaders aren't pleased with Republicans' plan to create a special committee with seven Republicans and five Democrats to investigate the Benghazi attacks.

House Democratic leaders aren't pleased with Republicans' plan to create a special committee with seven Republicans and five Democrats to investigate the Benghazi attacks.

They wanted a panel split evenly between the two parties. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said a 7 to 5 committee was preferable.

The House Rules Committee, which has a Republican majority, is expected to discuss the committee's makeup Wednesday. The House could vote on establishing the panel Thursday.

Late Tuesday night, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., wrote him this response:

"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," they said. "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.."

The Democrats added that , "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."


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