Dems want Boehner to promise Benghazi probe won't turn into public spectacle
Published May 09, 2014
House Democrats said Friday that before deciding whether to participate in a new investigation on the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, they want Speaker John Boehner and members of the GOP to promise the investigation won’t turn into a political spectacle.
Democratic party leaders huddled with rank and file in a closed-door session Friday morning to decide whether to take part in the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack or if they should boycott the proceedings. Many are split on their involvement in the world of the select committee, which is will have a 7-5 GOP edge.
"If there is going to be a true bipartisan inquiry, we'll participate," Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., told reporters following the meeting. "If it's engineered to be a Republican campaign strategy, it's much harder for us to participate."
Israel said that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had made several calls to Boehner on Thursday that went unanswered. Staff level negotiations have continued.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the sentiment in the caucus was shifting away from a boycott in favor of participating, but Democrats wanted to know the "rules of engagement" first. They are concerned that their participation would grant legitimacy to what they believe will be a partisan forum. But they also worry that if they avoid it, they won't have the chance to counter GOP claims and defend potential witnesses.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., floated the idea of token participation with just one Democrat, but Connolly said he didn't support that step.
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed when militants stormed the diplomatic outpost. Republicans, who insist the Obama administration hasn't come clean on what happened, voted Thursday to create the special committee.