A $150,000 taxpayer-funded settlement was granted by former Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) for wrongful termination after an aide alleged he was fired for not focusing his inquiry in on Hillary Clinton.
The Washington Post confirmed the settlement was paid to Bradley Podliska after Congress released details of this and other settlements, which were made public on Friday.
Podliska was charged with conducting research into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, which left four Americans dead at the hands of terrorists at a U.S. facility in Libya. Among those who were killed was U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
The investigations held by Congress and led by Gowdy often delved into what ways the administration of former President Barack Obama could be held responsible, and was seen by some as a means to attack Hillary Clinton before she made a run for the presidency. Clinton was secretary of State at the time of the attacks.
Podliska’s accusations seem to confirm those thoughts, as he alleged he was fired in part due to his refusal to put focus on Clinton, rather than finding the true issues at hand. He was fired, he said initially, “because he was unwilling to go along with the hyper-focus on the State Department and Secretary Clinton based upon the fact that his comprehensive, thorough, and objective investigation was pointing at other agencies and individuals and not solely the State Department and Secretary Clinton.”
Podliska also claimed that his wrongful termination had to do with his duties as an Air Force reservist. His settlement was based upon that allegation, for a total of $150,000 for a claim of “veteran status discrimination.”
As part of his settlement, the committee was able to forego any admission of wrongdoing. Podliska also dropped his claims about being terminated for changing his focus in the investigation.
Still, his initial allegation makes clear that the Select Committee may have had ulterior motives when it came to its investigation. Rather than trying to root out the problems associated with the attacks, it seems the Republicans on the committee were seeking ways to discredit Clinton herself, although their findings never did draw any conclusions implicating her or the State Department in wrongdoing as it related to the attacks.
Such partisanship is expected these days in Washington, but it's still improper. If true, then the Benghazi Congressional inquiry was nothing more than a witch hunt against a potential candidate for office — and a huge misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars for political purposes.
Banner / Thumbnail : Kevin Lamarque/Reuters