Cummings Responds to Continued Republican Benghazi Fundraising
WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, issued the following statement in response to Chairman Trey Gowdy’s recent appearance at a GOP political event in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he spoke about the Committee’s investigation of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi:
“Republicans continue to use the deaths of four brave Americans in Benghazi as a political rallying cry—and fundraising tool—which is offensive, reprehensible, and contrary to the promises we made to the loved ones of those who were killed during the 2012 attacks. Chairman Gowdy should halt these activities immediately.”
In May 2014, Chairman Gowdy claimed during an interview on national television: “I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.”
In this latest incident, however, Gowdy was billed as the “Featured Speaker” at the 2015 National Pachyderm Convention. The National Federation of Pachyderm Clubs describes itself as “one of the most influential and most recognized political clubs in the nation” and as “an official Allied Organization of the RNC.” Registration for the convention required a fee of $150-$200 to be paid to the National Federation, a 501(c)(4).
According to The Times Free Press, at the GOP gathering, local Rep. Chuck Fleischmann explained to the group that: “Whether you are Hillary Clinton or any other lefty out there, you better beware because Trey Gowdy is out there and he is going to get you.”
Gowdy credited Fleishmann for issuing threats to cut nearly $700 million from the State Department’s operational budget:
“In turn, Gowdy praised Fleischmann, who serves on the Appropriations Committee that he said helped the Benghazi probe by threatening to withhold State Department funding if the agency didn’t comply with the committee’s subpoenas.”
Agencies have continued to produce documents to the Select Committee on a rolling basis, including more than 55,000 pages of documents from the State Department alone.
In April, Stop Hillary PAC issued advertisements using Chairman Gowdy’s name, image and position as Chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee to request political donations. Stop Hillary PAC describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.”
That was not the first contact that Stop Hillary PAC had with the Select Committee. On September 18, 2014, one day after the Select Committee’s first hearing, the group delivered more than 264,000 signatures insisting that Chairman Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel Secretary Clinton to testify. The next day, Chairman Gowdy approached Ranking Member Cummings to discuss seeking Clinton’s testimony.
Also in April, the RNC issued an attack ad #StopHillary also referencing Benghazi.