Chairman Trey Gowdy and Republican members of his House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks have long complained that Obama’s State Department has been dragging its feet in responding to a number of subpoenas demanding documents related to the deadly assault in 2012. The committee has been loudly complaining that officials at State have stalled and offered all sorts of excuses for not turning over the requested material, especially Hillary Clinton’s official emails when she was secretary of state.
Now, in a move sure to encourage conservatives and anger liberals, House Republicans are, in a sense, putting their money where their mouth has been. Politico reports that the fed-up GOP lawmakers are “using their most obvious weapon to hold State’s feet to the fire: the power of the purse.”
“House Republicans are threatening to withhold a large chunk of State Department funding until officials speed up their responses to document requests, including House demands for documents pertaining to the Benghazi investigation and probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails.”
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And the lower-chamber lawmakers are not talking small change with their threat to put a hefty hurt on the State Department’s 2016 budget.
The House Appropriations Committee’s proposed 2016 spending bill for the State Department and foreign operations withholds 15 percent of the departments “operational funds until requirements related to proper management of Freedom of Information Act and electronic communications are met,” according to a panel release.
Pushing back against the House move to substantially reduce funding for the department, officials at State claim that any reduction in their budget would only serve to slow down even further the process of reviewing and releasing Benghazi-related documents — especially the emails to and from Clinton and her associates — that Gowdy and his colleagues have been demanding.
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The Politico piece notes: “The emails, which are confidential to the Benghazi panel, have been released in waves. Gowdy received 4,000 pages of new documents from the State Department in April but is still waiting on emails from a set of Clinton allies including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, Susan Rice and Patrick Kennedy.”
In another development related to the Benghazi investigation, the results of a new CNN poll released today are not good news for Hillary Clinton. The poll finds 58% of respondents are dissatisfied with the way the former secretary of state and current presidential contender handled the attack in Benghazi in 2012 that claimed the lives of four Americans.
As for the public’s sense of whether the House Benghazi probe is being conducted properly, the CNN survey found: “A narrow majority feel the Republican-led congressional hearings on the attack have been handled appropriately, just 41% say the GOP has gone too far with them.”
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