House Speaker John Boehner on Friday made his final Republican appointments to the select committee created to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Boehner's seven picks were revealed when a legislative pick read their names on the House floor.
They include: Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who will serve as chairman and was announced previously; Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana; Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio; Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas; Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama; Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
Throughout the week, as speculation mounted about whom Boehner would appoint to the committee, knowledgeable sources indicated that the speaker wanted members who would bring prosecutorial experience and policy expertise to the table. Boehner also wanted political posturing to be held to a minimum. Here is how each of Boehner's appointees satisfies that criteria:
• Gowdy, 49, is a former federal prosecutor who is steeped in the Benghazi issue from his work on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which played a large role in the joint, five-committee investigation that preceded the forthcoming work of the select committee. During Oversight and Government Reform hearings on Benghazi, Gowdy won plaudits for his knowledgeable and direct questioning of witnesses, and for not using his question time to pontificate for the cameras. It probably also didn't hurt that he was elected in the Republican wave of 2010 and is well thought of by members who affiliate with the Tea Party.
• Brooks, 53, is serving in her first term. She is a former U.S. attorney (read: prosecutor) who has quickly developed a reputation for eschewing sensational partisanship in favor of seriousness and professionalism. She has not previously been involved in the investigation of the Benghazi attack — she serves on the Education and Workforce, Ethics and Homeland Security panels. But her skills and temperament made her a choice that other Republicans are quietly praising.
• Jordan, 50, is the only choice that might appear risky. The stalwart conservative is a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee who has never been shy about speaking his mind. However, he has spent more than a year investigating Benghazi as a member of Oversight and Government Reform, where he chairs the Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee. Jordan also serves on the Judiciary Committee.
• Pompeo, 50, has a military and legal background, making him a favorite to receive an appointment. The second-term congressman graduated from Harvard Law School and West Point, and saw active duty as a cavalry officer. Pompeo has been involved in the House Republicans' Benghazi investigation as a member of the Intelligence Committee. He also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
• Roby, though not previously considered a favorite to receive an appointment, has focused intensely on national security issues since winning her House seat in 2010. She previously served on the Armed Services Committee, one of the five standing committees of jurisdiction that had been investigating Benghazi, throughout the hearings but later left the panel. Roby, 37, now serves on the Appropriations Committee.
• Roskam, 52, is the only senior member of the House Republican leadership team on the select committee. The chief deputy majority whip can be expected to keep Boehner in the loop as to the panel's progress and proceedings, and could serve to maintain order and political discipline as the select committee's investigation proceeds. Roskam is a lawyer and former litigator. He serves on the Ways and Means Committee.
• Westmoreland, 64, subtly lobbied Boehner for months to create the select committee. He served as chairman of an informal Benghazi working group that met once a week to review the progress of the five-committee investigation, and through that process came to the conclusion that it was not accomplishing the goal of obtaining information and finding answers. Westmoreland serves on the Intelligence Committee, and is chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, and as such was considered a natural choice for the appointment. He also serves on Financial Services.
House Democrats decided Friday to reject the five slots on the select committee that were reserved for them.