Alan Grayson files ethics complaint against Rep. McCarthy over Benghazi Committee

Last week, probably-soon-to-be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R – the McCarthy Era) confirmed what everyone more or less already knew: The House Select Committee on Benghazi is little more than a taxpayer-funded anti-Hillary Clinton opposition research firm. And a poorly-run one at that.

This confirmation presented House Democrats with a number of options. The members of their caucus who sit on their committee could have all resigned from it in protest; instead, they decided to release closed-door testimony from committee hearings that — surprise! — backed up Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama administration’s account of the Benghazi attack. But Alan Grayson is going a step further today, filing a formal ethics complaint against McCarthy and Trey Gowdy, the other Representative in charge of the committee.

As he wrote, in a letter to the House Ethics Committee:

Cong. Alan Grayson (photo by LDL766)

Cong. Alan Grayson (photo by LDL766)

Representative Kevin McCarthy and Trey Gowdy have violated federal law and House rules by using funds appropriated to the Select Committee on Benghazi to oppose the Presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. On September 29, 2015, Representative McCarthy appeared on The Sean Hannity Show on Fox News, and he stated that the true purpose of the Select Committee on Benghazi was not to investigate the tragic death of four americans killed during the terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya, but rather to drive down the poll numbers of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton…This is a clear and unequivocal misuse of appropriated funds for political purposes, which is prohibited by the regulations of the Committee on House Administration.

Congressman Gowdy evidently has dragged out the work of the Committee so that it would coincide with the Democratic Presidential Primary race. In the meantime, the Committee under Gowdy’s leadership has subpoenaed State Department employees and others close to former Secretary Clinton, in an apparent effort to generate anti-Clinton information and disinformation.

It’s unlikely that any official action will come of Grayson’s complaint, but it does underscore how McCarthy unwittingly brought on a turning point for how the issue is perceived. Now that the committee’s political motive is out in the open, no one in the press is obligated to pretend that it has anything to do with seeking justice for the four Americans who died during the attack. And every time Hillary Clinton is dinged on the issue during the campaign, she’ll have a ready-made counterpunch.

That McCarthy’s fumbled one of the Republicans’ favorite pet issues probably also has something to do with why he hasn’t been able to secure enough votes to secure the Speaker’s gavel yet.

(h/t TalkingPointsMemo)

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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