- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2015

The political fight over the Benghazi committee spread Friday to the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Florida, where Rep. Alan Grayson blasted fellow Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy for voting in favor of creating a “political witch hunt.”

He pointing to recent remarks by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, that Democrats say prove the committee is designed to trip up Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run.

Mr. Grayson, one of the most liberal House members, said Mr. Murphy’s support for creating the committee exposed him as a fake Democrat.

“He’s a Republican pretending to be a Democrat who voted like a Republican when he thought no one was watching,” Mr. Grayson said in a conference call with reporters.

“From the beginning, Benghazi Select Committee has been a partisan clown show and anyone who was paying any attention to it would know that’s exactly what would happen,” Mr. Grayson said. “Republicans are trying to squeeze every bucket of slime they can out of this farcical investigation. … Everything they’ve done with Patrick Murphy’s permission.”

Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp said Mr. Murphy has called on House Republicans to “immediately shut down the committee.”

“When Patrick voted for the Benghazi committee, he was 100 percent confident it would vindicate Hillary Clinton, and he warned the committee must not be ‘used as a way to politicize this tragedy and the deaths of four Americans,’” Mr. Karp told the Tampa Bay Times.

“But the Republicans turned this tragedy into a political circus, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy just admitted Republicans hijacked the committee for partisan gain,” he said. “It is disgraceful for Alan Grayson, who is not supporting Hillary Clinton, to further politicize this tragic loss of life.”

The committee was established to probe events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Recent polls show a close contest between Mr. Grayson and Mr. Murphy. They are competing for the Democratic nomination in the race to replace Sen. Marco Rubio, who is giving up his seat to run as a Republican for president.

A Public Policy Polling survey last month showed Mr. Grayson edging out Mr. Murphy, 33 percent to 27 percent, among likely Florida Democratic primary voters.

The Benghazi committee has come under sharp criticism from Democrats following Mr. McCarthy’s remarks Tuesday.

Mr. McCarthy, who is poised to become speaker of the House next week, credited the panel with hobbling Mr. Clinton’s presidential run.

“Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

His comment, delivered three weeks before Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to testify before the Benghazi committee, spurred calls by Capitol Hill Democrats to close the committee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the committee may have violated ethics rules.

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