House GOP wants to spend $3.3M on Benghazi probe

DONNA CASSATA
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have called for spending up to $3.3 million this year on the special select committee tasked with investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The seven-member GOP majority would receive some $2.2 million for staff and other operations while the five-member Democratic minority would get about $1 million, according to a document provided by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed on Sept. 11 when militants attacked the diplomatic installation and CIA annex in two separate incidents in the Libyan port city.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people after the attack to protect President Barack Obama in the final weeks of his re-election campaign, and of stonewalling congressional investigators ever since.

The Republican-led House voted in May to establish the select committee to investigate all elements of the assault and its aftermath. Multiple independent, bipartisan and GOP-led inquiries have faulted the State Department for inadequate security in Benghazi, leading to four demotions.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it was critical to “getting to the truth.” He tapped Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to chair the committee.

Democrats have portrayed the probe as partisan and an election-year effort to energize GOP voters for the midterm contests. After much debate, Pelosi decided to appoint Democrats to serve on the panel.

The committee, authorized in May, has been moving slowly in hiring staff with security clearance and the probe is expected to extend into next year.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, described the budget for the Benghazi investigation as well as a House GOP effort to sue Obama as “an appalling breach of the public trust and a stunning abuse of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Amanda Duvall, a spokeswoman for Gowdy, said, “The money comes from already-appropriated legislative branch funds. That number is the high end estimate, and we expect there will be less spent as the staffing process is still ongoing, and since not all the staff came on board immediately in May.”

The budget was first reported by USA Today.

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