House Will Spend More Investigating Benghazi Than On Ethics, Veterans, The Budget, Or Science

CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File

Benghazi Committee Chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

The House could spend up to $3.3 million in taxpayer dollars over seven months on a special committee to investigate the Sep. 2011 attacks against the American diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, more than lawmakers have appropriated for committees dedicated to investigating ethics and helping American veterans over an entire 12 month period.

A ThinkProgress analysis of House spending on its 20 permanent committees from Jan. 3, 2013 to Jan. 3, 2014 finds that since Benghazi committee’s full-year equivalent budget would be an estimated $5,657,142, its investigation will cost more than the budgets of nine other House committees:

Committee on Rules: $2,857,408
Committee on Small Business: $2,992,688
Committee on Ethics: $3,020,459
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: $3,048,546
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: $4,389,758
Committee on House Administration: $4,600,560
Committee on Agriculture: $5,036,187
Committee on the Budget: $5,138,824
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: $5,282,755
House Benghazi Panel: $5,657,142
Committee on Natural Resources: $6,555,829
Committee on Armed Services: $6,563,535
Committee on Education and the Workforce: $6,952,763
Committee on Homeland Security: $7,033,588
Committee on the Judiciary: $7,077,016
Committee on Foreign Affairs: $7,388,112
Committee on Financial Services: $7,394,482
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: $8,182,307
Committee on Ways and Means: $8,423,411
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: $8,940,437
Committee on Energy and Commerce: $9,520,516

The seven House Republicans will receive a bigger share of the committee budget, $2.2 million, more than the five Democrats, who will see “just over $1 million.” Funding for the committee “comes from already-appropriated legislative branch funds” a GOP spokesperson told USA Today, and does not represent a new expenditure. The spokesperson also claimed that the $3.3 million figure represents “the high end estimate,” though the investigation is likely to bleed into 2015.

The Benghazi committee, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) agreed to put to a vote after facing political pressure from conservatives, comes after the House and Senate already held numerous hearings on the attacks, interviewed scores of witnesses, and received thousands of documents from the Obama administration. Seven Congressional investigations have looked into the Benghazi attacks since 2012, including the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, House Armed Services Committee, House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee. These investigations consumed 13 public hearings, 50 member and staff briefings, and over 25,000 pages of documents, White House officials estimate.

In March, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King said in a letter to Congress that the Pentagon and other government agencies had spent “millions of dollars” complying with the investigations.