The top Republican leading the House Select Committee on Benghazi is urging his colleagues against using the issue as a fundraising ploy, but the congressman has himself discussed the supposed Benghazi scandal at fundraisers and campaign events.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week finally relented to the House GOP caucus’s right wing and agreed to appoint a special committee to launch more investigations into the Obama administration’s handling of the September, 2012 attack, and tasked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to lead the panel.
Gowdy on Wednesday called on other Republicans to refrain from fundraising off Benghazi because he said the issue “transcends politics.” Yet just minutes prior to his comments, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) sent out a fundraising email using Gowdy and his committee as the hook. “You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog. Let’s go after Obama and Hillary Clinton,” it says, offering readers an opportunity to donate.
Gowdy later said the NRCC should stop the campaign. “I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
But that hasn’t always been the case. Last September, Gowdy attended a “barbecue fundraiser” for Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) in Indian Land, SC and according to local newspaper the Lancaster News, Gowdy talked Benghazi with attendees:
Gowdy addressed the issue of “phony scandals,” in which the government is describing the scandals surrounding the IRS and NSA as fake, or phony.
Referring to the scandal surrounding the murders of four American citizens in the Benghazi attacks, Gowdy said this is not the case.
“It is a scandal,” he said. “But it is not a phony scandal.”
Gowdy said these scandals begin to chip away at the public’s trust in their government.
“There is nothing phony about (citizens) not trusting the people they put in positions of leadership,” he said.
Two weeks later, Gowdy spoke at a campaign event for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) where he, according to the Greenville News, praised Graham on Benghazi (accessed via LexisNexis):
Friday morning at Furman, Gowdy shared the credit on the Benghazi issue with Graham, telling students, “There is no one in Congress who has done more on the issue of Benghazi than your senior senator.”
Gowdy also said [Rep. Jason] Chaffetz [R-UT] has done more than anyone else in the House to hold Obama accountable on Benghazi. Gowdy and Chaffetz attended a private fundraiser for Chaffetz at a Greenville home Thursday night.
Thus, the reality is that for Republicans and their right-wing media and Tea Party allies, the Benghazi tragedy that resulted in four Americans and a U.S. Ambassador being killed is at this point nothing more than a way to raise money.