Democrats Call on Gowdy to Put Halt To “Reprehensible, Shameful, and False” attack Ad
WASHINGTON—Today, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and all other Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a statement calling on Chairman Trey Gowdy to publicly condemn an offensive new attack ad issued by Stop Hillary PAC, a campaign group that has had repeated interactions with the Select Committee.
The Democratic statement reads:
“We call on Chairman Gowdy to use his authority and influence to put an immediate halt to this reprehensible, shameful, and false campaign attack ad that uses images of Ambassador Stevens’ grave—without his family’s permission—and exploits the deaths of four Americans to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president. We condemn the actions of the people behind this ad in the strongest possible terms, and we demand that the Select Committee halt any further interaction with this group.”
Last night, Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States,” bought time on CNN to air an advertisement entitled, “I’d Like to Ask.” The ad shows photographs of the four Americans killed in Benghazi, followed by footage of the tombstone of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The Stevens family has asked that his death not be used for political purposes. As they said in a statement to Congress in 2013, “What Chris never would have accepted was the idea that his death would be used for political purposes.”
However, this is not the first time Stop Hillary PAC has attempted to coordinate with the Select Committee to damage Secretary Clinton’s presidential bid.
On September 18, 2014, Stop Hillary PAC delivered more than 264,000 signatures insisting that Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel Secretary Clinton to testify. One day later, Gowdy began pressing Ranking Member Elijah Cummings to seek her testimony.
Stop Hillary PAC then sent an email soliciting campaign funds from the address “Support Trey Gowdy,” stating:
“Friend, now we must both double-down the pressure on Hillary to testify AND show renewed support for Congressman Trey Gowdy. We’ve got to reach the 500,000 signature mark before the Congressional Special Select Committee on Benghazi reassembles. We must provide the last bit of leverage and force Hillary Clinton to testify both times. We need just 30,900 more signatures! Click here to sign your Stand With Trey Gowdy petition and double-down with a donation of $25 or what you can afford.”
In April 2015, Stop Hillary PAC ran ads to solicit political campaign donations using Gowdy’s name, image, and position as Chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee:
All of these actions directly contradict the assertion Gowdy made during an interview on May 7, 2014, when he was asked whether he wanted Republicans to stop exploiting Benghazi for political purposes:
“Yes, and I will cite myself as an example. I have not sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans. So, to the extent that they would look to me as some evidence of what’s appropriate and what’s not. There are, still—even in a culture of hyper partisanship—certain things that ought to be above politics, like the murder of our four fellow Americans, and like whether or not you can trust what any administration—Republican or Democrat—tells you in the aftermath of a tragedy. That, to me, transcends politics.”