Benghazi Committee Now One of the Longest and Least Active Congressional Investigations in History
WASHINGTON—Last week marked the 72nd week since the authorization of the Select Committee on Benghazi, now surpassing the length of time of the Watergate Committee, which in the same time held 137 days of hearings.
During this time, the Select Committee has identified no evidence to support claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any of the other wild allegations about the Benghazi attacks Republicans have made about her for years.
“The Benghazi Select Committee has now become one of the longest and least active congressional investigations in history,” said Ranking Member Elijah Cummings. “The Committee has squandered the last 16 months and more than 4.5 million taxpayer dollars dredging up political attacks to impact the 2016 presidential election -- a severe misuse of taxpayer funds and Congressional power. The Committee has turned into a political punchline. Sadly, that comes at the expense of being taken seriously and being able to take effective, bipartisan actions to improve the security of our diplomats abroad.”
The Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Watergate) was created on February 7, 1973 to investigate and study illegal or improper campaign activities in the presidential election of 1972.
In the 72 weeks of its investigation, the Watergate Committee conducted 137 days of hearings with hundreds of witnesses, a sharp contrast to the Benghazi Committee’s only three hearings, 46 staff-led interviews and two member depositions.
The Watergate Committee’s final 3,000 page report was issued 506 days after its inception. But the Benghazi Committee’s final report is not expected to be released until well into the 2016 presidential election year.
Benghazi Republicans abandoned their investigative plan to hold 11 hearings between January and October on a wide range of topics relating to the Benghazi attacks, shelving plans to have hearings with leadership from the Department of Defense and the CIA.
The Select Committee has not held any hearings since January, choosing instead to focus on targeting Secretary Clinton, which included issuing 22 press releases related to her in the past seven months. Secretary Clinton’s scheduled October 22 hearing is currently the only hearing the Benghazi Committee has planned.
As Select Committee Democrats wrote in a letter to Chairman Gowdy on July 15, 2015 these actions “lack any legitimate basis” and “serve only to delay its work further into the election season and subject it to increasingly widespread criticism for its highly partisan actions.”
When asked on FOX News Sunday what the issues related to Secretary Clinton’s emails have to do with investigating what happened around Benghazi, Gowdy responded saying “Well, probably not much of anything…”
View the fact sheet comparing the duration and cost of the Select Committee on Benghazi to other major investigations.
- Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina
- 5 months and 1 day (2005-2006)
- Expended $86,607
- • Joint Committee on Investigations of the Pearl Harbor Attack
- • 9 months and 15 days (1945-1946)
- • Not to exceed $25,000
- The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
- 9 months and 27 days (1963-1964)
- Budget not listed
- • Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran
- • 10 months and 13 days (1987)
- • Expended $4 million according to press reports
- Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities
- 1 year, 3 months, and 3 days (1975-1976)
- Not to exceed $750,000
- Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities
- 1 year, 4 months, and 21 days (1973-1974)
- Not to exceed $2 million