House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) formally announced the members of a select committee to investigate the September 2012 terrorist attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
In speculation mirroring predictions about who would be picked first during this week's NFL draft, House aides, congressional reporters and other political junkies have been trying to guess all week who might be appointed to the panel. Let's just say most, if not all, of those predictions proved incorrect.
The select committee illustrates several critical elements of the House GOP caucus -- a mix that includes consideration of age, gender, experience, geography, political priorities and memberships on key committees. The Post's Paul Kane gave a quick synopsis of the group via Twitter:
Benghazi br'down: 3 2010'ers (Gowdy, Pompeo, Roby), 1 2012 (Brooks), 1 nod to RSC (Jordan), 1 l'ship plant (Roskam), 1 NRCC dep (W'moreland)
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) May 9, 2014
Now here's a little more information on each member and some sense of why they were selected for the panel:
Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.): Elected to the House in 2010, he quickly emerged as a well-liked and telegenic member of the tea party-backed freshman class. He's a former federal prosecutor and quickly became an active and outspoken member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a key lieutenant of its chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Gowdy also is chairman of a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on immigration policy, making him a key point person on the controversial subject. Reporters like him for his skillful turns of phrase, like the time he called White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer a "demagogic self-serving political hack who can't even be elected to a parent advisory committee, much less Congress."
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.): Elected in 2012, she's also a federal prosecutor giving the panel at least two members with professional investigative and prosecutor experience. She was elected in 2012. Brooks also brings an open mind to the process -- at least on paper -- because she's not a member of the four House committees -- Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight -- that have already investigated the Benghazi attacks.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): The former head of the Republican Study Committee -- the caucus for conservative Republicans -- he's well-liked by newer members and has been a liaison to top House GOP leaders. Jordan also serves on the Oversight Committee, making him and Gowdy bridges to the panel that most aggressively pursued answers to the 2012 attacks.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.): Elected in 2010, he's a retired Army captain and the only military veteran on the committee. He serves on the Intelligence Committee and has been mentioned as a possible chairman of that committee once Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) retires next year. But his involvement with the panel suggests he's not a serious candidate to lead the intelligence panel. Another potential future Intelligence chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), told reporters this week that he didn't want to participate with the Benghazi panel to avoid spoiling his chances of leading the intelligence panel.
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.): Elected in 2010, she's a former lawyer and a former member of the Armed Services Committee. She's also a favorite of top leaders and one of the party's more prominent female spokespeople.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.): He's a deputy whip, making him the direct link to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). In other words, he's on the committee to keep an eye on the other members and report back to leadership on the committee's progress. Roskam was elected in 2006 in one of the most closely-contested House races of the cycle and has emerged as a mentor to newer members, most recently encouraging them to more actively participate in the appropriations process. Roskam also doesn't serve on any of the four panels that have already investigated the attacks.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.): First elected in 2004, Westmoreland is a deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, making him the panel's direct link to House Republican political operations. He has the NRCC job in part because he led GOP redistricting efforts in the wake of the 2010 census, helping Republicans retain a large majority in the House despite losing the popular vote. The NRCC has faced criticism this week for launching a fundraising appeal shortly after the announcement of the select committee. Boehner and other top leaders so far haven't asked the NRCC to stop the new fundraising campaign.