House Speaker John Boehner has tapped South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy to chair a special panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Republicans have accused the White House of not being forthcoming about what happened on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when the attacks unfolded.
Here’s what you need to know about Gowdy.
1. He Called Susan Rice ‘Stunningly Arrogant’ for Her Handling of Benghazi Questions
Gowdy has been a vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack, especially when it comes to National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who went on the Sunday talk shows in the aftermath of the attack and repeatedly said the attack came about from a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video.
In a February interview on Fox News, Gowdy called Rice “stunningly arrogant” for telling NBC’s David Gregory that she didn’t regret her initial comments about the attack because she was passing along information the intelligence community had given to the White House. Watch the video above.
2. He Represents South Carolina’s Fourth District
His House bio describes his mission in representing the district as follows:
Trey Gowdy entered Congress with a resolute commitment to the conservative principles that have guided him throughout his years in public service. At the core of those principles lies a firm belief in a limited government that inspires trust and demands accountability.
3. He Ousted a Sitting Republican Congressman in a Primary
Gowdy came into Congress in 2011 after ousting Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (pictured above) in a primary. Gowdy finished first in a five-way Republican primary, but didn’t have the votes needed to avoid a run-off. He then trounced Inglis in the ensuring run-off by more than 40 percentage points and routed Democrat Paul Corden by more than 35 points in the general election to win the seat.
4. Boehner Called Him ‘As Dogged, Focused and Serious-Minded as They Come
In a statement published by the Washington Post, Boehner heaped praise on Gowdy. The Speaker said:
Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come. His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel. I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration. I plan to ensure he and his committee have the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts. This is a big job, but Rep. Gowdy has the confidence of this conference, and I know his professionalism and grit will earn him the respect of the American people.
5. He’s a Former Federal Prosecutor
Gowdy’s House bio describes the experience as follows:
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row.
Gowdy and his wife, teacher’s aide Terri Dillard Gowdy, have two children — Watson and Abigail — and three dogs with legal-themed names: Judge, Jury and Bailiff.