(This post has been updated.)
In May, just after he was picked to lead the House’s select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Rep. Trey Gowdy said he would not raise money off of the assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
But it was revealed Monday that he was scheduled to help another group raise funds at an event called “Beyond Benghazi.”
By the day’s end, Gowdy had pulled out and the event was canceled.
Gowdy (R-S.C.) had been upset when the National Republican Congressional Committee sent a fundraising letter using his name to invite donors to become a “Benghazi Watchdog.” “I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi,” he said May 7, 2014, on CNN.
Later this month, the Republican Party of Virginia was to host Gowdy at a $75-a-head reception that, according to the events drop-down menu on the committee’s Web site, was called “Beyond Benghazi.” You could buy a table for 10 for $1,250 or co-chair the event for $5,000, which included the table, a “VIP” at your table and a special shout-out.
After The Washington Post inquired about the event, a spokesman for the Benghazi committee said that the subject of the fundraiser hadn’t been cleared with Gowdy or his office and that the congressman would not be attending.
“The chairman was unaware that organizers of this event intended to feature or even mention Benghazi,” Jamal Ware, the spokesman, said by e-mail. “He has not raised money using Benghazi and will not speak about Benghazi at fundraising events. Having been made aware of this group’s plan, he no longer will be participating in the event.”
Reached earlier Monday, David D’Onofrio, communications director for the Virginia GOP, said that the organizers had just changed the name (how convenient) to delete the Benghazi reference (guess they had forgot to change it on the drop-down menu) and that the conversation with Gowdy would be focused on wider implications of the select committee’s work.
Later Monday, he e-mailed the Loop to say the event was off. “The congressman didn’t have input in the naming of the event and as soon as we realized there was an issue we immediately agreed to cancel the event,” he said.
Democrats have accused Gowdy and Republicans of politicizing the Benghazi attacks to hurt former secretary of state Hillary Clinton ahead of her expected run for president. The attacks occurred during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department. On Friday, Democrats on the select committee sent a letter to Gowdy calling his decision to subpoena Clinton’s e-mails “very partisan and political” because she had already said she’d hand them over.
They also called on Gowdy to make public the Clinton e-mails the committee has already received.
“Allowing these e-mails to be made public will help clear up any misperceptions and will also help return the Committee to its original purpose, investigating the tragic events in Benghazi, rather than allowing it to become a surrogate for the Republican National Committee,” they wrote.
Well, at least he’s not fundraising off of it?