House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is complaining that the new select committee on Benghazi will have more Republican members than Democrats. "If this review is to be fair, it must be truly bipartisan," Pelosi said in a just-released statement. "The panel should be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, as is done on the House Ethics Committee."
The House has not yet voted to create the select committee, although that is a sure thing. Beyond that, Speaker John Boehner has not said how the new committee will be divided between Republicans and Democrats. But it's a pretty good bet there will be more Republicans than Democrats. The GOP holds the majority in the House, and the majority party has a majority on almost all House committees. More specifically, that is the way things worked on the select committee appointed by Pelosi when she was speaker.
In 2007, the House created a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. As Speaker, Pelosi set up the structure. There were nine Democrats and six Republicans. "The House has a long history of creating Select Committees focused on crucial issues," Pelosi said in a statement. "With a large number of committees exercising jurisdiction over issues affecting energy and climate, the Select Committee will provide the coordination of information on these critical issues."
Now Pelosi wants an even split between the parties. And that is if Democrats even participate. In her statement today, Pelosi said the new Benghazi committee "should require that witnesses are called and interviewed, subpoenas are issued, and information is shared on a bipartisan basis. Only then could it be fair." Pelosi seemed to indicate that Democrats will take part in the select committee, but other Democrats are calling for their party to boycott the panel. As it turns out, Pelosi has a record of doing just that.
In 2005, the Republican-controlled House appointed a select committee to investigate the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Pelosi, as minority leader, refused to go along. "The American people … do not want a partisan whitewash of what went wrong in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," Pelosi said in a September 2005 statement. "I will not appoint any Democrats to participate in this sham." Now if Pelosi chooses to boycott the Benghazi committee, she'll have plenty of precedent -- her own.