No, The Benghazi Committee Isn’t ‘The Longest Running Congressional Investigation Ever’
An emerging Democratic talking point is that the investigation being conducted by the House Select Committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on Benghazi is the longest-running inquiry ever undertaken by Congress.
But the fact-checkers at PolitiFact reviewed the claim — which was fostered by Democrats on the special panel, repeated by numerous media outlets, and hammered home by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — and determined it to be false.
Created in May 2014, the Benghazi Committee has been responsible for discovering that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account while she was secretary of state. That led to the discovery that she used a private server to maintain the email account and those of some of her top aides.
Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, has said that Clinton’s failure to turn over her email records stymied previous investigations into the Benghazi attack.
But Democrats have demonized the investigation, accusing it of being designed to launch political attacks on Clinton. Committee Democrats released a report earlier this week claiming that the inquiry is one of the longest and least productive congressional investigations in history. Outlets like The New York Times, The Hill, ABC News, and MSNBC reported the claim.
The Clinton campaign went further, asserting that the committee has conducted the “longest running congressional investigation ever.”
It's the longest running congressional investigation ever. It's cost taxpayers $4 million. And what's it about? https://t.co/NDhi0fMioW
— The Briefing (@TheBriefing2016) September 30, 2015
But that is false, as PolitiFact notes. The fact-checkers found four special congressional committees whose investigations went well past the Benghazi’s panel’s 17 month run.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations, created in Sept. 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., lasted 30 months.
The Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations, which looked into labor racketeering, was empaneled for 38 months, from Jan. 1957 to March 1960.
A Senate investigation into defense contracts awarded during World War II lasted for 90 months, from 1941 to 1948, according to PolitiFact.
A committee created to investigate the conduct of the Civil War lasted for 40 months, from Dec. 1861 to May 1865.
PolitiFact found other congressional investigations conducted by permanent committees that also went far beyond the Benghazi Committee’s 17 month timeframe.
A Senate government affairs committee investigated the 2007-2008 financial crisis for 30 months. A House ethics committee investigated New York U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel from 2008 to 2010. And from 1922 to 1924, the Committee on Public Lands investigated the Teapot Dome scandal.