Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee are not pleased with Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s attempts to take a fact-finding trip to Libya without them, calling out what they decry as “duplicitous partisan maneuvering.”
Politico on Friday afternoon announced that they had received word that Issa was planning to take a trip to Libya as part of his ongoing — and so far fruitless — investigation into the Benghazi tragedy in which four Americans were killed last year. While not actually visiting Benghazi itself, Issa will be flying out for North Africa on Sunday with stops in Italy and Egypt along the way. Issa just this week held yet another hearing on the incident, this time having the heads of the State Department’s review of the attack’s aftermath testify before the committee.
Democrats were not happy to learn about the trip, which has apparently been in the works for the last week, given the apparent secrecy around it. According to the rules Issa himself published when taking up the gavel, they write in a letter to the chairman, all trips overseas must be bipartisan. The fact that he has thus far invited no Democrats to take the trip with him, the letter goes on, means that Issa is violating the portion of his 2011 memo that states that partisan delegations can be allowed “in rare circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Chairman.”
“Although you claim that your investigation of the Benghazi attacks is bipartisan, your efforts to secretly plan an official trip to Libya — and then deliberately exclude Democrats from joining — is part of an unfortunate pattern of partisanship that undermines the credibility of this investigation,” wrote Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the committee. “The problem with these actions is that they effectively deny Democratic Members the ability to effectively investigate this incident.”
“Once again, Republicans on the Committee have engaged in duplicitous partisan maneuvering that make a mockery of the Chairman’s claims that he is conducting a bipartisan investigation,” added Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), another member of the committee. “Republicans have injected crass political posturing into every aspect of their so-called ‘investigation’,” Connolly went on.
Though the GOP has attempted to make Benghazi an issue with which to attack the White House since the day after the attack, they’ve gained little traction among the American population. Even as more conservative members of the House Republican caucus turn their ire on Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) over the issue, attempts to rally the populace into a frenzy over Benghazi have so far fallen flat.