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Well, they've now officially walked the plank: House Republicans have created the first ever committee to investigate a hashtag. On a vote of 232-186, Republicans formally created their #Benghazi committee, putting Rep. Trey Gowdy in the position of spending six long months denying that he's just trying to help out the GOP's fundraising efforts.

The resolution creating the committee gives Republicans seven seats and Democrats five seats. The Democratic caucus will meet Friday morning to discuss whether to fill those seats or whether to refuse to participate in the GOP's circus. If they do decide to participate, they should be able to find members willing to serve, given that seven of them voted for the committee. Of course, those seven members should probably be disqualified for that very reason.

On the GOP side, there's no question about whether to participate: In fact, getting a slot on the committee is pretty much the most coveted spot in town for Republicans. But even though 206 Republicans have asked to be on it, it turns out that only six have regularly mentioned it in press releases over the past two years, a testament to the power of a small band of devoted lunatics to push the entire Republican party to the fringe. No Republicans opposed the resolution.

House Speaker John Boehner defended creating the GOP's #Benghazi committee by saying that the administration had blocked efforts by other House committees to investigate the Benghazi attacks.  "Our committees sought the full truth, and the administration tried to make sure they wouldn't find it." What that truth was, however, he won't say.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, said the GOP's decision was "nothing but political" and would merely create another committee that will get the "same answers" that the previous four House committees have received. "To use the tragedy of those four deaths for political and financial gain is shameful and contemptible," Slaughter said.


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