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Meet the Republicans on the Benghazi Select Committee

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) participates in a news conference on immigration, on Capitol Hill, April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to discuss immigration control issues that are before Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Rep. Trey Gowdy. Photo: Mark Wilson/2013 Getty Images

While Democrats still haven’t decided if they’re boycotting the new House Benghazi select committee, last week, House Speaker John Boehner chose seven lucky GOP House members from among the dozens of Republicans clamoring for a spot on the panel. A Republican aide told Politico that their goal was “to select serious, sober-minded members who will make this about finding answers to some troubling questions and will not make this a partisan shouting match,” adding, “We’re not going to convene a kangaroo court.” The Republican half of the panel is packed with former lawyers and prosecutors, but they’ve seen their share of controversies, from offending Muslim-Americans to embarrassing themselves on The Colbert Report. Here’s a look at Boehner’s picks.

Representative Trey Gowdy

Gowdy, who chairs the new committee, worked as a federal prosecutor from 1994 to 2000. He’s known for his theatrical style at hearings, and as Salon notes he even added an action movie soundtrack to a video he posted of his objection to Lois Lerner invoking her Fifth Amendment rights. Also, his hair inspired a BuzzFeed list.

Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana

Brooks, a former federal prosecutor, is the only freshman on the committee. Along with Representative Peter Roskam, she is also one of only two people on the panel who haven’t served on one of the five House committees that already investigated Benghazi. “I do think it’s a good thing to have some fresh perspectives,” Brooks told IndyStar.com. “Maybe some different questions, or maybe a different manner in which we ask the questions will produce some answers.”

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio

Jordan has served in the House since 2007, and has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration. He recently wrote a Wall Street Journal editorial calling for a special prosecutor in the IRS scandal, and has made a number of fiery speeches during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearings on the issue. Here, he demands to know why it’s taking so long to produce Lois Lerner’s emails:

Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas

Pompeo, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, has drawn attention for a number of controversial remarks during his three years in the House. For example, after visiting Guantanamo Bay, he said of detainees on a hunger strike, “they look to me like a lot of them have put on weight.” He’s probably best known for the time he declared on the House floor that by remaining silent when terrorist attacks occur, American Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit in these acts.”

Representative Martha Roby of Alabama

In 2010, Roby became one of the first two women to be elected to Congress from Alabama in regular elections, and she’s considered a rising star in the GOP. While she was Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Roby led hearings on the military’s actions during the attack in Benghazi. Last summer, she took flak for failing to correct a constituent who called President Obama a “foreign-born, America-hating communist despot.” Her spokesman said she was at the meeting of the Wetumpka Tea Party to “listen,” adding, “This is a group that was targeted for their political beliefs by the IRS, only to have President Obama call it a ‘phony scandal.’ You bet they are frustrated with this administration.”

Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois

Roskam has served as chief deputy whip since 2011 and is said to be close to Boehner. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, House GOP insiders say he is on the committee to act as a stable “monitor” and ensure that it doesn’t “go rogue” and turn into an embarrassing sideshow.

Representative Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia

Westmoreland, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, drew national attention in 2008 when he called the Obamas “uppity.” (He said later that he wasn’t aware the word has racial connotations.) You may also remember him as the congressman from Georgia’s 8th congressional district (the Fightin’$2 8th), who couldn’t name all the Ten Commandments in a 2006 Colbert Report interview, despite sponsoring a bill requiring that they be displayed in the House and Senate.

Meet the Republicans on the Benghazi Committee