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Meet the Members of the Benghazi Committee

(Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call Illustration)
(Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call Illustration)

Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn more about the new special House committee tasked with investigating the Obama administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. The election-year probe will command attention and keep the focus on both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a 2016 presidential bid.

Hang on to this handy chart, put together by reporter Daniel Newhauser, to keep track of the 12 lawmakers appointed by House leaders to serve on the panel, officially dubbed the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.  

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy serves as chairman, and Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland serves as the committee’s ranking member. The committee Republicans are Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana.  

The committee Democrats are Adam Smith of Washington, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and  Adam B. Schiff and Linda T. Sánchez, both of California. Gowdy Age: 49
2nd term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Oversight and Government Reform  

The verbose former federal prosecutor drew his colleagues’ attention with fiery floor speeches. Gowdy was entrusted by Speaker John A. Boehner to serve on Ethics and sits on Judiciary. Already a key figure in the Benghazi investigation, he has won the admiration of conservatives, leadership — and those across the aisle.  


Brooks Age: 53
1st term
Relevant Committee Assignments: Ethics, Homeland Security  

The sole Republican freshman on the committee was, like Gowdy, a federal prosecutor. She and Roby bring gender diversity to the panel as the GOP continues to try to be more inclusive of women.  


Jordan Age: 50
4th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Oversight and Government Reform  

The hard-nosed former Republican Study Committee chairman is one of the most trusted figures among Capitol Hill conservatives, giving that constituency a much-desired presence on the committee. He also serves on Judiciary.  


Pompeo Age: 50
2nd term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Intelligence  

A former Army officer who graduated first in his class at West Point, Pompeo lends military credibility to the Republican side of the panel. He also holds a Harvard law degree and has a passion for his work on the Intelligence panel.  

Roby Age: 37
2nd term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Appropriations  

Before becoming an appropriator, Roby led the Armed Services subcommittee investigating the Department of Defense’s response to the Benghazi attack. A member of the rambunctious 2010 class, she has nevertheless proven herself a leadership ally. She also plays in the June 18 Congressional Women’s Softball Game.  


Roskam Age: 52
4th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Ways and Means  

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s top lieutenant gives leaders a direct presence on the committee, and is a former trial lawyer.  


Westmoreland Age: 64
5th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Intelligence  

The affable southerner headed the Benghazi working hroup, an informal cadre that preceded the select committee. He is a liaison to conservatives on the GOP whip team and is friendly with leadership as a National Republican Congressional Committee deputy. He also was the party’s point person on redistricting in 2011.  


Cummings Age: 63
9th full term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Oversight and Government Reform  

Trusted by the administration and House Democratic leadership, he has held his own as the party’s point man rebutting Republicans’ Benghazi talking points. He’ll continue that role on this panel. His national stature was elevated after sparring with Issa during the Lois Lerner probe.  


Duckworth Age: 46
1st term
Relevant Committee Assignments: Armed Services, Oversight and Government Reform  

The only combat veteran on the panel is a double amputee after being severely wounded in action during the Iraq War. She has served in the state and federal departments of Veterans Affairs, including as an Obama appointment as a deputy secretary. Considered a close ally of the president, Duckworth also is the lone Democratic freshman on the committee.  


Sánchez Age: 45
6th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Ethics  

The top Democrat on Ethics and a senior party whip, Sánchez has said that her experience investigating colleagues gives her the ability to take a dispassionate look at the Benghazi attack.  


Schiff Age: 53
7th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Intelligence  

The former federal prosecutor has focused much of his work on the threat of terrorism in the post-9/11 world, particularly in hotbeds of anti-Americanism. He has already been involved in Intelligence panel’s investigation into the Benghazi attack.  


Smith Age: 48
9th term
Relevant Committee Assignment: Armed Services  

The top Democrat on Armed Services has already been critical of the Republican panel members’ lack of foreign policy experience. With former perches on Foreign Affairs and Intelligence, he gives Democrats gravitas and political cover to make that accusation.