Trey Gowdy and his beloved Benghazi Committee used public funds to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by a former committee investigator, fired in part for refusing to target Hillary Clinton.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Republican Trey Gowdy (SC), all but exploded in the wake of several stunning revelations in late 2015. The CIA revealed in October 2015 that Trey Gowdy altered documents in an attempt to frame Hillary; and in November 2015, Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, filed a lawsuit against Gowdy seeking damages for defamation.
Salon elaborated on the lawsuit at the time. Describing Podliska as a whistle-blower, Salon reported that, “Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, claimed that he’d been improperly and illegally fired from the committee. He also revealed some damning details about the committee’s work, claiming that it had become singularly focused on Hillary Clinton and the State Department, to the exclusion of other agencies involved in the Benghazi response. According to Podliska, he’d been discriminated against for taking leave to fulfill his duties as an Air Force reservist and for resisting the committee’s intense focus on the State Department.”
Fast-forwarding to Friday 01 December 2017, The Washington Post reported that “Gowdy used $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle” that lawsuit.
The Post confirmed the confidential settlement reached between Gowdy and the Benghazi panel and Bradley Podliska after it appeared in a list of settlements released Friday by the congressional Office of Compliance. Gowdy is now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
In a list provided to the House Committee on Administration, the OOC disclosed it oversaw one $150,000 settlement involving a claim of veteran status discrimination and retaliation in the last five years. Podliska, in addition to claiming he was fired for his refusal to focus on Clinton, alleged retaliation by his supervisors because he took leave to fulfill his obligations as an Air Force reservist.
Podliska’s lawyer, Peter Romer-Friedman, declined to answer questions regarding his client’s settlement details citing confidentiality agreements. However, he did confirm to The Washington Post his belief that there had not been any other lawsuits regarding veteran status discrimination and retaliation the last five years.
“I can confirm that my client is one person who brought a veterans status discrimination and retaliation suit against Congress and that the case settled on terms that were satisfactory to my client,” Romer-Friedman told The Washington Post.
Gowdy declined to make any comment as well. “The Benghazi Committee no longer exists. I would refer you to House Employment Counsel,” Gowdy’s spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez wrote in an email.
This is just the latest bombshell regarding Gowdy’s Benghazi committee, which has been plagued with allegations of crimes and multiple lawsuits for defamation… The time has come to hold Trey Gowdy accountable.
In June 2016, Democrats serving on the House Benghazi Select Committee issued a 339 page report clearing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any responsibility for security lapses during the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The Democratic report also documented the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z. Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.
“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”
It is also noteworthy that, in August 2016, Fox News took the unexpected position of defending Hillary Clinton regarding a wrongful death and defamation lawsuit filed by the parents of two Americans who were killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Fox News correspondent and law school graduate Gregg Jarrett defended Clinton in an article published by Fox News that stated that “the wrongful death cause of action is legally fallacious. Pure fiction.” He went on to write that the “defamation cause of action is really quite delusional” and warned that the parents could “get hit with sanctions for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.”
Gowdy’s uncompromising Benghazi
investigation witch hunt is illegal, unlawful, and demands accountability – hopefully in the form of a lengthy prison term.
Below are a few details regarding Gowdy’s misdeeds:
Trey Gowdy’s Taxpayer-Funded Political Campaign Against Clinton
- The Committee was given an unlimited, taxpayer-funded budget, spending more than $4.6 million in one of the longest and least productive investigations in congressional history—focused on Clinton.
- The Committee was being used by Republican fundraisers to attack Clinton.
- The Committee’s attacks were described by the conservative PAC America Rising as a taxpayer-funded political activity: “This has all occurred without a single cent of paid advertising taking place.”
- Gowdy’s name, image, and position were used to solicit political donations by Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.
- Gowdy appeared at a GOP political event where local Rep. Chuck Fleischmann explained: “Whether you are Hillary Clinton or any other lefty out there, you better beware because Trey Gowdy is out there and he is going to get you.”
- Gowdy didn’t release his findings until “just months before the 2016 presidential election” – seemingly to maximize potential damage to Clinton’s campaign.
Alleged Criminal Conduct
As Liberals Unite reported in October 2, 2015: in a bombshell revelation, the Central Intelligence Agency reached out to Democrats serving on the Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday to confirm that Chairman Trey Gowdy had altered documents provided to the committee by Hillary Clinton.
On October 7, 2015, Gowdy sent a response to ranking Benghazi committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), referring extensively to Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time confidante and adviser to the Clintons, who served as assistant and senior adviser to Bill Clinton from August 1997 until January 2001.
In addition to Sidney Blumenthal’s business interests, Secretary Clinton also apparently received classified information from Blumenthal – information she should have known was classified at the time she received it. In one email, Blumenthal writes “Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted due to sources and methods].”1 This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives. Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague–debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address. There may be other instances as well where Secretary Clinton passed on classified information she received from Sidney Blumenthal. [emphasis added]
- However, as Newsweek reported, the CIA informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that Gowdy’s claims were false: “Indeed, according to committee correspondence reviewed by Newsweek, the CIA did tell the panel on Saturday that it had reviewed 127 emails between Clinton and her close friend and outside adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, and none of it was deemed classified. Additionally, according to Newsweek: “’The CIA reviewed the material in question and informed State that it required no redactions,’ the agency informed Susan Sachsman Grooms, staff director and general counsel for the panel’s Democrats, on October 17.” [emphasis added]
- Cummings sent a letter to Gowdy in October in which he dropped the bomb – accusing Gowdy of altering documents in an effort to frame Clinton: “To further inflate your claim, you placed your own redactions over the name of the individual with the words, ‘redacted due to sources and methods.’ To be clear, these redactions were not made, and these words were not added, by any agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing classification guidelines.” [emphasis added]
- Cummings continued, emphasizing the fact that the CIA had thoroughly debunked Gowdy’s false claims against Clinton: “Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that ‘the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.’” [emphasis added]