Seven Democrats joined Republicans yesterday in voting to establish a special committee on Benghazi, making up a caucus of sorts of Dems aiding the GOP in investigating Obama scandals.
Six Democrats joined Republicans in voting to find IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress on Wednesday: Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.).
All of those lawmakers, plus Arizona Dem Kyrsten Sinema, voted Thursday for the Benghazi commission, which passed 232-186. All of the defecting Dems except Murphy are members of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats.
“I am deeply saddened by these tragic events and believe the American people deserve to know what took place on that fateful day,” Sinema said of her vote. “People in my district and all across the country demand answers, and this committee will help provide a full and accurate explanation of what took place. The individuals who allowed these security failures to occur should be held accountable and action should be taken to ensure the safety and security of Americans serving overseas.”
Support grew even more when a total of 26 Democrats supported a Wednesday resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Benghazi committee will include 12 members, and Democrats will be able to pick five of those. It’s tasked with compiling a report to address “all policies, decisions, and activities that contributed to the attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, as well as those that affected the ability of the United States to prepare for the attacks; all policies, decisions, and activities to respond to and repel the attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, including efforts to rescue United States personnel; internal and public executive branch communications about the attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012; accountability for policies and decisions related to the security of facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and the response to the attacks, including individuals and entities responsible for those policies and decisions.”
The panel will also study “executive branch authorities’ efforts to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012; executive branch activities and efforts to comply with Congressional inquiries into the attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012; recommendations for improving executive branch cooperation and compliance with congressional oversight and investigations; information related to lessons learned from the attacks and executive branch activities and efforts to protect United States facilities and personnel abroad; any other relevant issues relating to the attacks, the response to the attacks, or the investigation by the House of Representatives into the attacks.”
The chairman of the Benghazi committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), said the resolution “equips the select committee with the scope and tools necessary for the seriousness of this investigation.”
“We are charged with a clear mission: uncover all the facts and provide answers to the American public. While people are free to draw different conclusions from the facts, there should be no debate over whether the American public is entitled to have all of the facts,” Gowdy said after the resolution passed. “As Chairman, my goal is to conduct an inquiry that is rooted in fairness, is fact-driven, and worthy of the trust of the American public, regardless of one’s political affiliation. I look forward to working with the committee to accomplish those goals.”