Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., sent a letter to Democrats who are meeting on Friday morning to discuss how to respond to the newly created committee, which is comprised of seven Republican seats and five Democratic seats.
DeLauro, who is co-chair of the Democratic Steering Policy Committee, which determines committee assignments, said Democrats should resist boycotting the panel, which “would leave our caucus with no voice to engage in committee proceedings.”
Instead, she suggested in the letter, Democrats should seat just one member of their party on the panel.
“Such a participant could maintain Democratic access to committee proceedings and material, question witnesses, monitor the House Majority's activities and provide a powerful voice to raise issues and make appropriate public comments,” DeLauro wrote.
Republicans rejected a request by Democrats to make the committee bipartisan with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Such a move would have given Democrats the power to block subpoenas and other actions taken by the panel, which aims to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The following is the text of DeLauro’s letter:
THE DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE TO THE PARTISAN BENGHAZI COMMITTEE
Dear Democratic Colleague:
Today, the House Majority passed deeply partisan legislation to establish a Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. Rather than creating a committee with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, the House Majority decided to continue its politicization of the tragic events in Benghazi by passing legislation that would allow for seven Republicans and five Democrats on the committee. As a caucus, we must now determine how to respond.
One discussed option is to name a full complement of five Democratic members to monitor and engage in the process. Another discussed option is to fully boycott the committee. Pursuing this option, however, would leave our caucus with no voice to engage in committee proceedings.
If there is a sense of the caucus that we should participate, I suggest you consider a third option: naming just one Democratic member as an official panel participant. Such a participant could maintain Democratic access to committee proceedings and material, question witnesses, monitor the House Majority's activities and provide a powerful voice to raise issues and make appropriate public comments.
There have already been eight reviews of the events in Benghazi, producing thousands of documents and dozens of interviews with high-level government officials. Democrats are committed to a balanced review of the facts, but now that the House Majority has made a decision to continue politicizing this issue with the establishment of a partisan committee, our caucus must choose how best to respond.