Gowdy says Benghazi super PAC isn’t necessary

Washington bureau -- The Greenville NewsJune 9, 2014 

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C

THE STATE

— Two Republican media operatives have created a super PAC to defend the GOP-led committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The new Benghazi Truth PAC can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate or individual donors, but not coordinate its spending with any federal candidates.

One of the political action committee’s founders says he expects the political left to hassle the Republicans investigating the attack in which four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed.

“We are preparing to help defend them from unfair and untrue attacks,” said Buzz Jacobs, co-founder of SSC Strategies in Florida and co-chairman of the new super PAC.

“There will be teams of people looking into their backgrounds and pulling things out of context and making major issues out of them and there needs to be some balance to that.”

The Republican majority in the U.S. House created a special select committee to investigate the poor security at the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, the inability of the military to respond fast enough when the attacks began, and whether the White House initially misled the American public about the incident.

Republicans have seven seats on the committee, including its chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. Democrats were given five seats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Jacobs, who managed Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign in the Southeast and worked in the White House during President George W. Bush’s term, said he fears Democrats loyal to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will try and “smear” the Republicans on the committee in order to protect Clinton.

He said he bases his concern on critical comments from Democrats after the special committee was created, and historically, how independent counsel Kenneth Starr was criticized during his investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“When we find out how disconnected the government was . . . it will not reflect well on Hillary Clinton. The left will try to distract from it and attack the messenger,” Jacobs said.

Although Republican leaders have said the new inquiry won’t be political, the super PAC’s website declares that Gowdy and the committee “may be the only people standing between Hillary Clinton and the White House.”

Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks and is a potential candidate for president in 2016.

Gowdy, on Friday, said the super PAC isn’t necessary.

“This investigation isn’t about my political career or anyone else’s. I do not approve of this PAC’s involvement nor do I desire to have their help in defending against ‘attacks,’ ” Gowdy said.

“I am more concerned about conducting a fair and fact-driven investigation that uncovers all the facts. People should judge this investigation on its merits and nothing else, and the less politics is injected into the investigation, the better.”

In a statement of organization sent to the Federal Election Commission, the paperwork for the Benghazi Truth PAC was created May 8, three days after Gowdy was named chairman of the select committee.

It isn’t the only outside group to focus on the politics of Benghazi, however.

On May 12, a Clinton ally told Fox News he plans to “truth squad” the committee by using information from the Correct the Record organization to respond during the hearings, which haven’t yet been scheduled. Lanny Davis, former special counsel to then-President Clinton, said he will be on hand to “put the facts out.”

Correct the Record bills itself as a “strategic research and rapid response team” to defend potential Democratic presidential candidates from “right-wing baseless attacks.”

Jacobs said he respects Gowdy’s view on the super PAC.

“If I was in his position, I would approach my job in the same way,” Jacobs said Friday.

“However, as a private citizen with White House-level national security experience, I am interested in doing what I can, within the law, to educate people about the truth and to defend those seeking the truth.”

The Super PAC hasn’t yet reported any income to the FEC, but Jacobs said it will disclose its donors of more than $200. The Benghazi Truth PAC lists its co-chairs as Jacobs and Douglas Brown, who with Jacobs is a co-owner of SSC Strategies LLC.

A spokeswoman for Cummings declined to comment on Friday.

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