Democrat files ethics complaint over Benghazi Committee’s ‘political witch hunt’ against Hillary

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) before chairing a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing © Jonathan Ernst
A Democratic congressman has filed an ethics complaint against two Republicans over the House Select Benghazi Committee’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling it a “political witch hunt” and a “dog-and-pony show.”

US Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) for their roles in the 17-month-long investigation into 2012 the attack on the consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“The Benghazi Committee has been a political dog-and-pony show for its entire 17-month history,” Grayson said in a statement. “It has been clear even to casual observers that the purpose of the committee was never to investigate the tragic death of four Americans in a terrorist attack; it was to attack Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) has filed an ethics complaint against Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) over the Benghazi Committee

The committee has spent $4.6 million in federal funds over the course of its investigation, and is not set to release its final report until 2016.

The Florida representative is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and, as such, has “read every email, every brief, and every classified memo about the tragic events in Benghazi.”

“There is not one scintilla of evidence that anyone in the State Department, from entry-level employees to Secretary Clinton herself, took any action that unnecessarily put lives at risk, or covered up anything,” Grayson said.

Grayson called McCarthy "execrable" ‒ meaning utterly detestable ‒ and accused him of "bragging" about using federal funds for political purposes during a Wednesday morning interview with CNN.

"It's very simple. You're not supposed to use taxpayer funds for a political witch hunt," Grayson said, calling the Benghazi controversy "the scandal that never was."

The investigation has hurt Clinton as she vies to become the Democratic presidential nominee, McCarthy told Fox News at the end of September.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable right?  We put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee,” he said. “What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? ‘Cause she is untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

Grayson used those remarks as proof of “flagrant violations” in his letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling McCarthy’s comment highlighted a “clear and unequivocal misuse of appropriated funds for political purposes.”

McCarthy is the leading candidate to replace Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is set to retire from Congress at the end of October.

Grayson accused Gowdy dragging out the committee’s investigation “so that it would coincide with the Democratic Presidential Primary race,” noting that the group hasn’t held a hearing since January, and that the investigation has lasted longer than that of Watergate.