Friday, October 16, 2015

Mainstream Conservative Richard Hanna (R-NY) Spills The Beans On GOP Benghazi Hypocrisy


When New York lost two House seats after the 2010 census, the 24th CD morphed into a slightly redder 22nd CD that includes not just Utica and Rome, but also Binghamton way down south, which used to be part of Maurice Hinchey's very blue district. In 2010 Republican multimillionaire Richard Hanna ran-- for a second time-- against cowardly freshman Blue Dog Richard Arcuri, who lost much of the district's progressive base by voting against the Affordable Care Act and obsessively carrying water for Wall Street. Hanna, a mainstream Republican and Lebanese-American, ran to Arcuri's left on several issues (Hanna was anti-TARP, pro-LGBT, pro-Choice) and exploited Arcuri's ugly Islamophobia. He beat Arcuri in 8 of the district's 11 counties (including populous Oneida, Herkimer and Broome counties), winning 53-47% in a district that saw 49-49% ties for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Last year Hanna beat Democrat Dan Lamb 61-39%.

Wednesday night the above sound clip from an interview Hanna has just done with WIBX radio host Bill Keeler began circulating. Eventually it will wind up as evidence in Alan Grayson's ethics complaint against Trey Gowdy and Kevin McCarthy for their roles in using taxpayer dollars to conduct a partisan witch hunt. The entire interview with Hanna is worth listening to since he;'s one of the only even remotely rational Republicans left in Congress. But the evidentiary part is towards the end of the recording (around 9:40):
Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth. This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people, an individual, Hillary Clinton... This has been the longest investigation-- longer than Watergate... you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.
He then went on to predict he and other mainstream Republicans would work with the Democrats to prevent GOP extremists from shutting down the government, which he called "an unmitigated crime against this country." This all infuriated Wisconsin neo-fascist Ron Johnson, a senator about to lose his seat to Russ Feingold, who immediately attacked Hanna on CNN and called his statement on the Benghazi Committee, "is opinion; I don't share that opinion. Johnson, a vicious Ayn Rand devotee, is obsessed with Hillary Clinton's e-mails and vows to keep the controversy going no matter what happens in Trey Gowdy's compromised faux-investigation.

Clinton is due to testify before this partisan witch hunt in less than a week. It's outrageous that the committee hasn't disbanded by now and apologized to the American people for wasting at least $4 million in taxpayer money. As Steve Benen, put it at the MaddowBlog, "The Benghazi Committee isn’t investigating a scandal. The Benghazi Committee is the scandal... Given the circumstances, it’s not unreasonable to think there should be an independent investigation into the Republican’s Benghazi Committee itself in order to uncover why it was formed, why its redundant work was deemed necessary, how it spent millions of taxpayer dollars, why the probe has been dragged out for so long, and whether the panel violated ethics laws by using official resources for partisan political purposes. Clinton’s testimony will no doubt receive a bright spotlight next week, but testimony from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and other GOP leaders would probably shed more light on the ongoing controversy."

Or, in the immortal words of Kevin Drum, "Republicans have screwed the pooch on Benghazi. The press can only play along with their faux investigation as long as they maintain plausible deniability about its partisan goals. But now we have (a) Kevin McCarthy spilling the beans, (b) news reports that John Boehner wanted to use the committee to attack Hillary, (c) Richard Hanna agreeing that it was mostly a partisan witch hunt, and (d) no less than the New York Times reporting that the committee has all but given up on Benghazi in favor of holding hearings on Hillary's email server. We knew all along there was a man behind the curtain, but now he's actually been exposed. It's getting harder and harder to play along with the charade."

This 62 seconds earned Bernie Sanders almost $3 million in small contributions immediately after the debate. (It infuriated Donald Trump though, who is now busy attacking Bernie.) Americans are getting sick and tired of this GOP hyper-partisanship and irresponsible use of public funds.

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