DesJarlais: Benghazi, IRS scandal stokes public’s cynicism
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
May 18, 2014 | 639 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scott DesJarlais
Scott DesJarlais

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais says the need to ask more questions about the Benghazi incident is one reason people are skeptical of the process in Washington.

“Probably because I serve on the Oversight committee, I get a lot of questions about the IRS situation and Benghazi,” he said. “Now that the select committee on Benghazi is being formed, that will become a bigger issue.”

He said people can “expect to see some interesting things come out of that.”

DesJarlais sits next to U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Benghazi probe, as they both serve on the Oversight committee.

He has high praise for all of the GOP members who have been named to serve.

DesJarlais said the possibility Democratic House members might not elect to participate on the committee would “be kind of silly.”

“What they want it to look like is just beating a dead horse. There was a YouTube video that was blamed early on and we’ve now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that was not the case,” he said.

He noted testimony came from military leaders who were on the ground substantiating that finding.

“Hillary Clinton knew. The president knew within an hour. And now, the e-mail has come out from the White House. We had supoenaed and it was gotten after a judicial group took the request through the courts where it said the White House goal was to make this not appear as a broader policy failure, but as a demonstration,” he said.

“I think the Democrats feel like we’re just trying to beat up Hillary Clinton ahead of her potential presidential run and we’re trying to beat up Obama for misleading the American public,” DesJarlais said.

“A broader issue is why did we not send help or try to send help. Why was the CIA in Benghazi? What about the rumors that were swirling about arms allegedly run through the annex in Benghazi through Turkey into Syria where they are arming Syrian rebels? I think that’s going to become the bigger focus moving forward.”

He said he believes there will be members from both parties who will be involved because “there are a lot of unanswered questions.”

DesJarlais said the IRS scandal has proven to be the same way.

“The IRS inspector general has said conservative groups were improperly targeted. Lois Lerner has information and we’ve seen e-mails that say these were handled in Washington. We know they are misleading us and Lerner has more testimony to give,” he said. “We know it goes higher up, but we have to get her to talk to us.”

The House has found Lerner to be in contempt of Congress, but that has to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice and DesJarlais said with Attorney General Eric Holder at the helm, there is some doubt about how fast the process will move if it does at all.

“Why people should care is it is a broader failure of the Oval Office and the trustworthiness of the commander-in-chief if it’s a Democrat or Republican, this is unacceptable behavior and people should care because if we’re rigging elections in this country by suppressing people’s free speech with a federal agency, that’s a real problem,” he said. “And, if we’re covering up illegal arms trading and telling the people we’re not doing something, that’s a real issue of credibility.”

He said those two issues stand to legitimize the public’s cynicism of government.

“At a time when people are really leery of big government and government intrusion into our lives, they have an image that needs to be cleaned up,” DesJarlais said. “That’s why these investigations are important just like Watergate was important.”

He said during the Watergate investigation, Republicans were calling it a “witch hunt” and complaining about all the money being spent.

“But a year into it, there was more coming out. There were the tapes. And, then there was a scandal and a president resigned,” DesJarlais said. “This could be headed in that direction.”