WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, has now spent more than $5 million in taxpayer money, according to a tally by House Democrats.
Democrats say the Republican-led probe is a partisan effort to undermine Hillary Rodham Clinton’s White House bid and said a marathon hearing with Clinton last month only confirmed their views. Clinton, who was secretary of state during the attacks, endured a grueling interrogation by GOP lawmakers at the 11-hour hearing.
The five Democrats who serve on the 12-member committee have said they will stay on the panel for now, despite calls by some Democrats to shut it down. The committee was created in May 2014 to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has said the panel’s work will extend into next year.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Benghazi panel, said in a statement that during the lengthy hearing with Clinton, “Republicans showed the world that the Benghazi Select Committee is a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign — and that their net came up empty.”
Republicans “will never resuscitate the credibility of this committee,” Cummings said.
Matt Wolking, a spokesman for the committee, said Democrats were the ones wasting taxpayer money.
“Instead of working with Republicans to get answers for the families of those killed in Benghazi, Democrats obsessed with defending the former secretary of state continue to waste taxpayer dollars doing everything they can to undermine and obstruct the committee’s fact-centered investigation,” he said in an email.