House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill on March 3. (Susan Walsh/AP)

In May, just after he was picked to lead the House select committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy pledged not to raise money off the 2012 attacks in Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

But it was revealed Monday that the South Carolina Republican was scheduled to help a group raise funds at an event called “Beyond Benghazi.”

After The Washington Post inquired about the event, a committee spokesman said that the subject of the fundraiser hadn’t been cleared with the congressman’s office and that Gowdy was pulling out.

“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,” the spokesman, Jamal Ware, said by e-mail.

Later Monday, the event was canceled.

The Republican Party of Virginia planned to host Gowdy at a $75-a-head reception that was called “Beyond Benghazi.” You could buy a table for 10 for $1,250 or co-chair the event for $5,000, which includes the table, a “VIP” at your table and a special shout-out.

Gowdy had been upset last year 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.

Democrats have accused Gowdy and Republicans of politicizing Benghazi to hurt Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state when the attacks occurred, ahead of her expected run for president.

Well, at least he’s not fundraising off it?

The Palin parallel

Sarah Palin wrote Monday that Hillary Clinton could use her as an example for government transparency.

But maybe Clinton already did?

In an article for Fox News, Palin compared her eventual release of thousands and thousands of her e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor — after reporters and others made numerous requests — to Clinton’s exclusive private account. She hoped media will be as tireless pursuing Clinton’s e-mails as they were hers.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 26 in National Harbor, Md. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

What Palin doesn’t mention is that she, too, had something of an e-mail scandal of her own when it was discovered she used a private e-mail account to have confidential conversations.

As governor, Palin discussed official business from a personal Yahoo account — one revealed because it got hacked by a college kid. As Alaska Dispatch News reported in 2010, Palin sent an e-mail to family and close advisers in 2007:

“My NEW personal/private/confidential account will now be: gov.sarah@yahoo.com All other people will be emailing me through the state system at governor@gov.state.ak.us and that is NOT a confidential/private account so — warning — everyone and their mother will be able to read emails that arrive via that state address.”

An opinion-pages editor at Alaska Dispatch News, Scott Woodham, accused Palin of “hypocrisy” in a column Sunday, writing that whether it’s Palin or Clinton, “the erosion of public oversight and accountability is a direct threat to representative democracy.”

Of course, in Palin’s defense, she didn’t exclusively use a private account. And Palin further contrasted herself with Clinton by pointing out that Clinton built her own server to handle her e-mails. Clinton could have “already deleted any trace of incriminating emails to and from Secretary Clinton and her aides. This is the opposite of open and transparent government and obviously doesn’t follow the rules,” Palin wrote.

She also made sure to note that the reporters who dug through the thousands and thousands of pages of her
e-mails looking for wrongdoing “were sorely disappointed.” Which is exactly what Democrats say will happen when Clinton’s
e-mails are searched.

One thing Clinton might consider, if she’s concerned about boosting the economy in affluent Chappaqua, N.Y., is releasing her e-mails in paper form and making the news media come get them, as the state of Alaska did with Palin’s.

Palin credited her e-mail dump as “a great boon for Alaska’s tourism industry because dozens of national reporters descended on Alaska to pour through tens of thousands of pages of my emails looking for some smoking gun.”

A nepotism no-no

We loved “House of Cards”: the lies, chicanery, double-crosses, duplicity, an occasional murder, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Sure. Just a slightly fictionalized version of everyday life here in River City.

But this season it’s gone too far. (Spoiler alert!) President Frank Underwood’s nomination of first lady Claire to be ambassador to the United Nations could never have happened. That’s because it’s illegal.

Yes, murder’s generally not legal, either, but our understanding is that such a nomination is specifically barred by the Postal Revenue and Federal Salary Act of 1967, which is called the Bobby Kennedy law because a section was passed in response to President John F. Kennedy’s appointment of his brother as attorney general.

The language is both clear and sweeping:

“A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, [or] advance” a relative in an agency “over which he exercises jurisdiction or control.”

The law specifies that the president is among the public officials covered, and it defines a relative as a “father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.” (The drafters were clearly unhappy with RFK’s appointment.)

In all fairness, people outside the Beltway probably don’t pay too much attention to these things. So after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, there was constant chatter that he would appoint Hillary to a Cabinet, sub-Cabinet or other high position in his administration. But he couldn’t have done so.

And neither could Frank Underwood. Well, maybe some senators were aware of the law. The Senate rejected Claire’s nomination on a 52-to-48 vote. But with Underwood, where there’s a will . . .

Name that show

Contest reminder! We need your help naming the next television series about Washington.

Send your creative title — only one suggestion per person — to intheloop@washpost.com. Be sure to provide your name, profession, mailing address and T-shirt size (M, L or XL), in case you’re a winner.

You must include a phone number — home, work or cell — to be eligible. Entries need to be submitted by Wednesday at noon.

— With Colby Itkowitz

Twitter: @KamenInTheLoop, @ColbyItkowitz