Boehner names the members of Benghazi select committee
Speaker John Boehner has named the Republican members of the Select Committee on Benghazi -- all lawyers, including a former federal prosecutor.
The Speaker announced his picks to serve under Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on the special committee on Friday, selecting a mix of junior and senior members and adding an additional former federal prosecutor in freshman Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.).
In addition to Brooks and Gowdy, Boehner’s appointees are Reps. Peter Roskam (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.) and Martha Roby (Ala.).
Roskam is the highest-ranking member and serves now as the GOP’s chief deputy whip, while Jordan and Westmoreland are staunch conservatives who have been deeply involved in the Benghazi investigations to date. Pompeo is the only military veteran, while Roby led a probe into the Benghazi attack as a subcommittee chairwoman on the House Armed Services Committee.
They will join Gowdy, who served as a prosecutor for 16 years before his election to Congress in 2010.
“This investigation is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people,” Boehner said in a statement. “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.”
The Speaker also called on Democrats to make their appointments to the panel, although it was unclear on Friday whether they would participate. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged from a meeting with her caucus without a decision, and the Democratic leadership was meeting Friday afternoon to consider a response from Boehner’s office to a letter outlining their concerns about the ratio.
Democrats had wanted an even split of Republicans and Democrats on the panel. But after Boehner rejected that demand, they are instead pushing for a firm commitment that Democrats will have a say in the issuing of subpoenas and calling witnesses.
“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. “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.”
Boehner appears to have done a pretty good job of choosing those who would add to the committee's deliberations rather than simply rewarding loyalists and party leaders. The chosen members appear to be up to speed on the issues surrounding Benghazi and hopefully, won't let witnesses get away with fudging their testimony.
As for the Democrats, no matter what they choose to do, they will seek to hinder and delegitimize the committee. Boehner is making all the right noises about bi-partisanship but he can't be so naive to believe the Democrats are interested in that sort of thing.
No doubt Chairman Gowdy will have his hands full.