Roskam named to Benghazi investigation panel
It’s unclear whether Democrats will take part in the House panel, which some have labeled a stunt.
The select committee will examine the assaults by armed militants on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. The attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The White House’s actions before and after the attacks have come under question, with some arguing that the Obama administration was trying to avoid any political damage as the 2012 presidential election loomed.
Roskam, 52, is a lawyer, former state lawmaker and former congressional staffer from Wheaton. He represents Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs.
He entered Congress in 2007 and is the House Republicans’ chief deputy whip, a leadership role that includes vote-counting and messaging. A frequent presence on television, he sits on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
As an aide on Capitol Hill, Roskam worked for former Reps. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., and Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
Roskam issued a statement today, saying the committee would “bring all of the facts to light, seek out justice for the families of the victims, and hold accountable those that committed this heinous attack.”
“Benghazi is a wound still open,” Roskam said. “We all want to believe that our government would do everything to come to the aid of Americans under threat abroad, but without a thorough and unbiased examination of all of the facts, we cannot know who is responsible for the tragic events that night, or how we ensure this never happens again.”
The panel will be chaired by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor whose YouTube video from last year, “Trey Gowdy Demands Answers on Benghazi,” had more than 2.4 million views as of today.
Other Republicans named were Susan Brooks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Republicans, who have a majority in the House, were setting up the panel with the intention of campaigning on the Benghazi events during midterm congressional elections this November.
“Their focus on the Affordable Care Act has run its course,” Pelosi told reporters, speaking of Republican criticisms of President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative. “Now they have to talk about something else.”
“This is a political stunt,” Pelosi said.
Democrats say multiple Republican-run House committees already have probed the Benghazi attacks exhaustively, without proving Republican allegations that the administration did too little to repulse the attacks and then made misleading statements to try to protect President Barack Obama from the political fallout.