The GOP lawmaker leading a fresh House investigation into the deadly Benghazi attack has urged his caucus to steer clear of the subject in its fundraising. But it's not clear whether other Republicans are listening.
"I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi," Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said toward the end of an interview on CNN's "The Lead With Jake Tapper."
"I also advise my colleagues to follow suit," he said Wednesday.
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But a donation page highlighting Benghazi remained up on Wednesday evening at the website of the National Republican Congressional Committee,
House Republicans' fundraising arm.
The pitch at nrcc.org begins, "Here’s What You Need to Know About Trey Gowdy & the House GOP's Select Committee on Benghazi." It ends with the statement "Help fight liberals by donating today" above a flashing, red-rimmed "Contribute" button and a slideshow of Democrats, including President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Democrats and some in the media are blasting the latest probe as a political sideshow. But Republicans say new revelations about the White House's conduct in the hours and days after Sept. 11, 2012, demand further investigation of the administration's response to the assault that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in the Benghazi, Libya, compound.
Some critics have called for House Democrats to boycott the probe
or, failing that, to at least insist on an even split of panel members instead of the expected seven Republicans and five Democrats.
Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and former prosecutor, spent parts of Wednesday telling talk show hosts he would not run a politicized investigation and criticizing any GOP effort to raise money off the committee's work.
"I have never sought to raise a penny on the backs for four murdered Americans," Gowdy said about 10 minutes into an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel.
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When confronted that afternoon by CNN’s Tapper with the NRCC's Benghazi pitch, he repeated his vow and said, "I think I did so in a pretty unambigious way."
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