By Adam Shaw, ,
Published April 28, 2016
Democrats on the House committee probing the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks awarded tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to their staff, while at the same time repeatedly attacking Republicans over the rising cost of the investigation.
According to publicly available reports, a total of $33,600 was given to six Democratic staffers at the end of 2014 and 2015.
While the bonuses make up only a fraction of the panel's total expenses to date, critics suggested they undermine the minority members' complaints about the budget.
"This is the height of hypocrisy,” Lisa Boothe, a Republican strategist and president of High Noon Strategies, told FoxNews.com.
Democrats complain the committee’s investigation, established in May 2014, has gone on longer than the 9/11 Commission's review of the 2001 terror attacks and have accused Republicans of using the committee as a political weapon to attack Democratic 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton -- who was secretary of state at the time of the Benghazi attacks.
And they have been relentless in describing the investigation as a waste of money, even including a “Benghazi Spending Tracker” on their website. The total taxpayer tab is now at nearly $6 million.
“Republicans continue to drag out this political charade closer to the 2016 presidential election, and the American taxpayers continue to pay the price,” ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in January.
Boothe suggested there's a disconnect.
“The Democrats on the committee want to criticize Republicans for investigating the deaths of four Americans to ensure a Benghazi style attack never happens again, but they have no problem doling out bonuses to their government staffers," she said.
However, Democrats responded to questions about the bonuses by saying they have fewer staff and do more work than their Republican counterparts.
“Republicans are responsible for the decision to drag out this partisan charade for almost two years and for spending nearly $6 million to date. Democrats have about half the staff as the Republicans, spend less than half the budget of the Committee, and do just as much work, if not more,” a Democratic committee spokesman told FoxNews.com.
Last week, committee Republicans accused the Democrats of spending $2 million -- more than one-third of the committee’s total cost -- on what they called “politically motivated efforts to undermine and obstruct the investigation.”
Committee Republicans declined to comment, other than to confirm they have not given any bonuses.