For the second time in two days, senior Republicans have admitted that their "investigations" are really taxpayer-funded political campaigns. Just 24 hours after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's stunning admission that Republicans established the Benghazi Committee to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz had a remarkable confession of his own--he has no evidence that Planned Parenthood violated any law. Although Republicans have been scrambling to explain away these statements, Democrats condemned the latest proposal by House Republicans to establish a new Select Committee to investigate Planned Parenthood:
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: "It is just a stunning admission on the part of the Republican Leader that the Benghazi Committee was created with a political purpose in mind. It makes the whole operation practically an unethical operation. Millions of dollars, the longest congressional investigation in history, longer even than the Watergate Committee, $4.5 million in taxpayer dollars and counting. [Now] they are trying to launch a committee, another taxpayer funded committee for political purposes even though Chairman Chaffetz of the Government Reform Committee admits that Planned Parenthood has done nothing illegal."
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer: "A committee to investigate Planned Parenthood would undoubtedly serve the same purpose: a one-sided investigation not to seek evidence of illegal activity--which the Chairman has said he does not believe exists--but to make noise during an election year and drum up fervor among Republicans' right-wing supporters. The American people deserve better from their Congress."
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings: "If even Republicans now admit that there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood violated any laws, then what are three House committees investigating, and why in the world are Republicans insisting on creating yet another "select committee' at taxpayer expense? This is the second time in two days that senior Republicans have admitted what everyone else already knew. It's time for Republicans to stop squandering millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on what they now admit are naked political campaigns."
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers: "Now that we agree these hearings have been pure political theater, perhaps we can move on to the important work facing this Congress--finding a long-term solution for funding the government, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, tackling the scourge of gun violence, and restoring the Voting Rights Act."
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr.: "Apparently Energy and Commerce Republicans did not get Chairman Chaffetz' memo that there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood Federation broke any laws. Earlier this month, Committee Democrats also put out a memo debunking the outrageous allegations made by David Daleidan and his supporters in Congress, based on information obtained from the Committee's investigation. Using this Committee to endlessly harass an organization in the hopes of damaging its reputation, simply because you are ideologically opposed to a women's right to choose, undermines the integrity of this Committee and is an abuse of Congress' power to investigate. The Republicans are grasping at straws here, and this obviously political effort has lost any semblance of legitimacy."
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: "It's not enough to waste valuable time and money investigating bogus claims, the Republican Majority now wants to create a special body to pursue this attack on Planned Parenthood and limit women's access to reproductive services, while dozens of Republican members continue to threaten a government shutdown right before the December holidays over funding for the organization."
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: "That Republicans are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on witch hunts is hardly surprising, but the fact that they brazenly admit it should be. They openly say Planned Parenthood didn't break the law, and they admit that the Benghazi investigation is all about electing a Republican President. And in the process, every major need taxpayers actually care about is being unmet. It's time to get back to the business of governing and end these ridiculous inquisitions."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton: "When Republican committees fail to uncover wrongdoing, the Republican Congress has taken to stoking partisan divisions by forming new select committees instead of producing something concrete for the American people Republicans have not learned from the Benghazi Select Committee, which Majority Leader McCarthy says has met its purpose in smearing Secretary Clinton. Instead, they are trying the same tactic with a Planned Parenthood Select Committee, even though two-thirds of Americans believe federal funding should continue for the one of the nation's leading providers of women's health care."
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham: "Our committee should be holding government accountable, and not contributing to the public's distrust of its elected leaders. Yet, the Republican leadership admits it created taxpayer-funded investigations for purely partisan reasons. They now admit the investigations are not intended to expose illegal activity. I join my colleagues in calling for a return to our intended oversight mission."
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman: "Based on what we've heard over the past two days, there can be no doubt the creation of an additional committee to further probe Planned Parenthood's perfectly legal and vital health activities will result in absolutely zero legitimate oversight. Further, proceeding with the Benghazi Committee after acknowledging it's true purpose discredits the reputation and history of this body. With the truth exposed, I hope that the Majority can let go of their dysfunction, and get to work on the priorities of the American people."
Congressman Gerry Connolly: "The Chairman's admission on national television that there is absolutely no evidence Planned Parenthood has broken any laws and that this week's one-sided hearing was about nothing more than scoring cheap political points at the expense of women's health, though not surprising, is shameful and should be condemned."
Congressman Peter Welch: "I applaud the unexpected candor from Majority Leader McCarthy and Chairman Chaffetz over the last 24 hours. Both acknowledged what is plainly obvious to the American people--the "investigations' into Planned Parenthood and Benghazi are driven by politics rather than appropriate congressional oversight of the executive branch. Should Leader McCarthy be elected Speaker next week, his first act to restore the credibility of this discredited institution should be to end the politically motivated "investigations' and refocus the House on its proper oversight role."
Congressman Ted Lieu: "The facts beg an obvious question: Why doesn't Republican leadership stop wasting crucial taxpayer dollars on bogus investigations into Planned Parenthood and focus on working for the American people: passing a long term budget agreement, taking care of our veterans, rebuilding our nation's crumbling infrastructure, and investing in education and the green energy economy."