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Trey Gowdy's Benghazi Double Standard

Rep. Gowdy encouraged other Republicans not to use Benghazi as a fundraising topic -- but he's done it himself.
Rep. Gowdy encouraged other Republicans not to use Benghazi as a fundraising topic -- but he's done it himself.
U.S. Congress (modified)

It’s up again, folks. Even though previous congressional hearings on the subject found that the White House and then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton did nothing to cover-up information about the Sept. 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya – even though House Republicans cut funding for embassy security for two consecutive fiscal years prior to the attack, and despite requests from both the White House and Clinton – even though the ambassador twice refused military backup one month before the attack – and even though a senior officer testified that the military could have done nothing to prevent it – the Republican Party is once again opening an investigation on the terrorist attack that claimed four U.S. lives.

And while the chair of the newest Benghazi Select Committee is trying to make folks think it will be different this time, he’s guilty of the same cheap tactics he himself recently criticized.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) was appointed on May 5 to head the congressional committee that will investigate the 2012 terrorist attack.

Calling it a subject that “transcends politics” on MSNBC’s May 7 edition of “Morning Joe,” Gowdy swore that the hearing did not have political goals and would have no political bias. In fact, he urged other Republicans to avoid reference to Benghazi in their campaigns and campaign fundraisers.

“I will cite myself as an example,” he said. “I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.”

Gowdy made the same promise later that day to CNN’s Jake Trapper. “I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi. I also advise my colleagues to follow suit.”

But either Gowdy’s statements were hypocritical and indicative of a haughty double standard … or he suffers from memory loss … or he flat-out lied. Because he’s already done it himself. And three different times.

  • At an Aug. 2013 fundraiser for Rep. Mick Mulvaney, another South Carolina Republican, Gowdy told attendees that, while other rumors going around D.C. were “phony,” Benghazi was one to pursue. “It is a scandal. But it is not a phony scandal,” quotes the Lancaster (S.C.) News.
  • At a Sept. 2013 function for Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), Gowdy “shared the credit” for continuing Benghazi investigations, telling Furham Univ. students “there is no one in Congress who has more on the issue of Benghazi than your senior senator.”
  • And later that same month, Gowdy praised another congressman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, for leading House attacks on President Obama over Benghazi, and at a fundraiser for the Republican representative from Utah.

While Gowdy searches for an excuse to his double-standard, he should also come up with one for his party. The National Republican Congressional Committee didn’t follow his advice, either.

At the same time of Gowdy’s “Morning Joe” appearance did NRCC submit emails claiming “Benghazi was a coverup” in its request for contributions, evening mentioning Gowdy by name. “You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog,” NRCC’s donation request says. “Let’s go after Obama & Hillary Clinton.”

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