Republicans say Democrats wasted $2M on Benghazi inquiry

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at the Keokuk Middle School on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Keokuk, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at the Keokuk Middle School on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Keokuk, Iowa. AP

For months, Democrats have accused Republicans of wasting money for continuing to investigate the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

But now, Republicans say its Democrats who have been squandering millions of dollars in support of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi said Democrats have spent more than $2 million in taxpayer money _ more than one-third of the committee’s total cost _ on “politically motivated efforts” to undermine and obstruct the investigation into the attack that killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.

“Their motivations are obvious: They’ve endorsed the former secretary of state for president, and will no doubt continue to act as a full-fledged arm of her campaign, wasting taxpayer dollars on everything but getting answers for the families of the victims who were left without adequate security on September 11 in one of the most dangerous places in the world,” Press Secretary Matt Wolking said.

Republicans say Democrats can’t name a single witness from the Obama administration they have requested to interview or name a single new document they have requested from the Obama administration.

In addition, they say Democrats have issued more than 60 news releases defending Clinton and did not deny “strategic coordination with the campaign” of their endorsed candidate.

“It is disappointing, and frankly sad, that Republicans are trying to blame Democrats for their wastefulness and ineffectiveness on the Benghazi Committee,” a Democratic spokesman said. “Democrats tried repeatedly to request an organizational meeting, adopt rules, develop an investigative plan and speed up the investigation, but Chairman (Trey) Gowdy refused every time. As a result, the Republican investigation has been widely condemned by even the most conservative commentators as inept and dysfunctional.”

The committee was formed in May 2014 to examine U.S. government policies that may have contributed to the attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, and the response of the Obama administration, including Clinton, then secretary of state.

Seven other congressional committees and the bipartisan independent Accountability Review Board already have looked into the assault. Nearly all of them criticized the Clinton State Department for insufficiently addressing security issues at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi.

The committee has interviewed 69 witnesses, including 55 who had never before been interviewed by a congressional committee and seven eyewitnesses to the attacks. It has obtained and reviewed roughly 100,000 pages of documents, about 70,000 of which had never before been obtained or reviewed by a congressional committee.

The committee plans to release a report later this year after receiving documents from the State Department and CIA and interviewing more witnesses.