Statement on Trey Gowdy to Replace Jason Chaffetz

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement following a report that Trey Gowdy will replace Jason Chaffetz as chairman of the House Oversight Committee: 

“Trey Gowdy is a partisan hack who shouldn’t be anywhere near the chairmanship of the Oversight Committee. He’s the same hack who wasted $7 million in taxpayer dollars on a pointless witch hunt, served on Trump’s transition executive committee, and even served on the transition executive committee with Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Trump’s children – a record that underscores his inability to serve independently.  The country is sick of Republicans putting party over country and is demanding independent oversight and accountability from Congress – why is that so impossible for the GOP to grasp?”

TREY GOWDY: THE LEAST SERIOUS OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN YOU COULD PICK

Gowdy’s “Investigations” Are Partisan Hatchett Jobs

Bob Woodward: The Benghazi Committee “Clearly Is Partisan.” According to the Huffington Post, “Legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward has been hard on Hillary Clinton during the course of her presidential campaign, comparing her handling of emails to Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. On Sunday, however, he gave her campaign a small gift. Appearing on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ he called the select committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi ‘partisan’ for its focus on Clinton and downplayed one of the main new findings the committee has made in relation to Clinton’s private communications. ‘Watergate was about a series of crimes, well-established, and so it was the Republicans who eventually turned on Nixon and it was a bipartisan inquiry. Here it is not. It clearly is partisan,’ Woodward said.” [Huffington Post, 10/25/15]

New York Times Editorial Board: The Benghazi Committee Has “Become An Insult To The Memory Of Four Slain Americans.” According to an editorial in the New York Times, “Lawmakers have long abused their investigative authority for political purposes. But the effort to find Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the Libya attacks, was personally responsible for the deaths has lost any semblance of credibility. It’s become an insult to the memory of four slain Americans.” [New York Times Editorial, 10/7/15]

CALLED BENGHAZI INVESTIGATION A TRIAL

Washington Times: When Speaking About The Benghazi Committee Gowdy “Made His First Stumble By Portraying The Investigation As A Trial And The White House As The Defendant.” According to the Washington Times, “The Benghazi panel will look into the policy and security questions surrounding the September 2012 attack on the U.S. outpost in Libya that resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Mr. Gowdy made his first stumble by portraying the investigation as a trial and the White House as the defendant. He conceded on Fox that perhaps he needed to get out of a 16-year habit of speaking in trial metaphors.” [Washington Times, 5/13/14]

Gowdy: I Can’t End A Trial Simply Because The Defense Won’t Cooperate. According to the transcript of an interview with Trey Gowdy on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Well, part of the answer to that depends upon how compliant the administration is with our subpoena. It would be shame on us if we intentionally drug this out for political expediency. On the other hand, if an administration is slow-walking document production, I can’t end a trial simply because the defense won’t cooperate. […]I mean, there’s a mutual obligation here. The only thing I can tell you is you go back and look at my 16-year career as a prosecutor and you’re going to find defense attorneys that say, look, I thought my client was innocent, but the guy gave me a fair trial. And I pride myself on that. You can say whatever else you want — he’s not smart; his suit doesn’t match; bad haircut — no one will tell you I’m not fair. And at the end of this, I think you’ll say the same thing.” [MSNBC, Morning Joe via LexisNexis, 5/7/14]

REPUBLICANS USED BENGHAZI COMMITTEE TO FUNDRAISE

Politico: Republicans And Conservative Groups Have Used Benghazi “As A Cash Grab.” According to Politico, “A number of Republican candidates and conservative groups have openly used the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, as a cash grab.” [Politico.com, 5/7/14]

  • Benghazi A “Key Part Of The GOP Fundraising And Mobilization Strategy.” According to Politico, “The 2012 consulate attack and accusations of a White House cover-up are catnip for grassroots donors and activists. And Benghazi — and the select committee assigned to investigate it — is a key part of the GOP fundraising and mobilization strategy.” [Politico.com, 5/7/14]
  • National Republican Congressional Committee Is “Aiming To Raise Money Off Gowdy’s New Position” As Head Of The Benghazi Select Committee. According to Politico, “This week, the National Republican Congressional Committee rolled out a new fundraising campaign called ‘Benghazi Watchdogs’ — an effort by the aiming to raise money off Gowdy’s new position.” [Politico.com, 5/7/14]

Gowdy Isn’t Serious About Subpoenas

WAS AGAINST SUBPOENAS…

Gowdy Called Serving A Subpoena “A Little Heavy Handed.” Accordint ot an interview on WYFF, Gowdy said “it just seems a little heavy-handed, to slap a subpoena on a former cabinet-level official, regardless of which party. If they are willing to come, then work with them on the date.” [Gowdy interview, WYFF, 4/8/15]

 …UNLESS THEY’RE FOR DEMOCRATS 

Gowdy Subpoenaed Sidney Blumenthal. According to the New York Times“Now, as Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her second presidential bid, Mr. Blumenthal’s service to the Clintons is again under the spotlight. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a Republican who is leading the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, plans to subpoena Mr. Blumenthal, 66, for a private transcribed interview.” [New York Times, 5/19/15]

The Benghazi Select Committee Issued Subpoenas For Secretary Clinton’s Emails. According to the Select Committee On Benghazi, “Select Committee on Benghazi Communications Director Jamal D. Ware issued the following statement regarding the issuance of a subpoena for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails: ‘The Select Committee on Benghazi today issued subpoenas for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation. The Committee also has issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.’” [Statement from the Communications Director on Subpoena Issuance, 3/4/15]

The Benghazi Select Committee Subpoenaed Emails Of “Close To A Dozen” Of Sec. Clinton’s Aides. According to the Washington Examiner, “Congress has subpoenaed nearly a dozen State Department workers from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state. Rep. Trey Gowdy revealed emails of ‘close to a dozen’ aides and possibly ‘aides to aides’ have had their emails subpoenaed by the Benghazi Select Committee, as it continues its investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks. ‘We sent a subpoena to the State Department for emails from a number of individuals within the State Department, other than Secretary Clinton,’ Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who chairs the committee, told Reuters in an interview Thursday.” [Washington Examiner, 3/20/15]

COMMITTEE UNDER GOWDY LEAKED NEWS OF SUBPOENAS

Trey Gowdy Committee Leaked News Of Hillary Clinton Subpoena. According to Politico “In a letter sent to Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Friday, the five Democrats on the panel criticized Gowdy for issuing the formal request for documents from Clinton’s term as secretary of state without consulting with Democrats and accused the committee of operating as a campaign arm of the Republican National Committee…. ‘Issuing this subpoena unilaterally with no deliberation by committee members, leaking information about the subpoena before informing Democratic Members, and providing inaccurate information at a press conference all contribute to a perception that this Committee is now targeting Secretary Clinton for political reasons rather than to clarify any remaining facts relating to the attacks in Benghazi,’ the Democrats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), wrote.” [Politico, 3/6/15]

Trey Gowdy Committee Leaked News Of Sidney Blumenthal Subpoena. According to the New York Times, “Now, as Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her second presidential bid, Mr. Blumenthal’s service to the Clintons is again under the spotlight. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a Republican who is leading the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, plans to subpoena Mr. Blumenthal, 66, for a private transcribed interview. Mr. Gowdy’s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that Mr. Blumenthal — who was not an employee of the State Department — wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.” [New York Times, 5/18/15]

Gowdy Isn’t Serious About Holding Hearings

Chairman Gowdy Pledged To Hold “Hearings In January, February, And March And Until” All Questions Are Answered. According to Roll Call, “Gowdy, a former prosecutor, maintained a low profile for months, holding only one public hearing in September before Wednesday’s meeting. But the South Carolina Republican outlined a more ambitious agenda for 2015. ‘We are going to keep asking questions,’ Gowdy said. ‘And to that end, we will have hearings in January, in February, and March and until. This committee will be the last best hope for answering the questions surrounding the attacks in Benghazi.’” [Roll Call, 12/10/14]

Rep. Cummings: “The Select Committee Has Not Had A Hearing In Three Months.” According to Congressman Elijah Cummings,“The Select Committee has not had a hearing in three months, despite Chairman Gowdy’s assertion in December that there would be hearings in January, February, and March.” [Cummings Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Benghazi Committee: ‘What Have We Accomplished?,’ 5/7/15]

EVEN CONSERVATIVES ADMITTED INVESTIGATION WAS “BUNGLED” DUE TO LACK OF HEARINGS

Conservative Group, Judicial Watch, Said The Benghazi Committee Has “Bungled” Its Investigation By Failing To Hold Public Hearings And Release Documents It Has Obtained. According to the Washington Post, “Judicial Watch, a conservative government transparency group, argues the committee has ‘bungled’ its investigation of the 2012 attacks in Libya by refusing to hold more public hearings and release documents it has collected over the last two years.” [Washington Post, 3/24/16]

Gowdy Isn’t Serious About Interviewing Witnesses

In October, Trey Gowdy claimed the Benghazi committee had interviewed 50 new witnesses in an effort to “hype the numbers” and defend the committee’s record.According  to the Democratic Staff Report on Benghazi, “Chairman Gowdy has attempted to defend the Select Committee’s record by explaining that it has broken new ground in witness interviews. On October 7, 2015, he wrote: ‘The Committee has interviewed over 50 witnesses to date who have never before been interviewed.’ However, this claim is inaccurate, and the Washington Post Fact Checker referred to it as an effort to ‘hype the numbers.’” [Benghazi Democratic staff report, October 2015]

The Washington Post Fact Checker awarded Trey Gowdy “Two Pinocchios” for his claim that the Benghazi Committee had interviewed 50 witnesses who had not previously been interviewed.  According to the Washington Post,“The numbers game is important to Republicans because they use the figure to justify how the Select Committee is necessary and breaking new ground. But there is a bit less here than meets the eye, especially if the interviews already conducted by the ARB are included. Still, there’s nothing wrong with saying that the committee has conducted 30 new interviews — and found three new eyewitnesses. Or, more precisely, the committee could say it has interviewed a total of 53 people, including 30 who have not been interviewed previously and 10 who were in Benghazi on the night of the attacks. We appreciate the fact that the committee released a corrected version of the letter. And we understand that Gowdy was speaking on live television and perhaps did not mean to mention the ARB, preferring to keep the focus on interviews conducted by Congress. But there’s little reason to hype the numbers and better to remain as precise as possible. Two Pinocchios.” [Washington Post Fact Checker, 10/15/15]

Gowdy Is Serious About Wasting Taxpayer Money

Gowdy’s Committee On Benghazi Spent Almost $7 Million, $4.4 Million Of Which Was Spent By Republicans.  According to the Washington Post, “Spending to date Spent by Republicans: $4.445 million Spent by Democrats: $2.325 million Total: $6.77 million” [Washington Post, 5/17/16]