The House minority leader thought ACORN, Benghazi, the IRS, and Planned Parenthood were important enough to probe.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he will oppose a bipartisan investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol. But he has backed at least nine other investigations into other matters in recent years.
After tasking Rep. John Katko (R-NY) to negotiate the parameters of a special commission, McCarthy (R-CA) said he would not back the agreement Katko reached with Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, angry that it did not also cover "political violence that has struck American cities."
"Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker's shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation," he explained in a statement.
In the past, McCarthy has been all for investigations when they matched his political interests.
Here are nine of them:
In October 2008, McCarthy requested hearings into unproven allegations of "nationwide voter registration fraud" by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a coalition of nonprofit community organizations. The group claimed its voter registration efforts had complied with the law. After years of being subjected to conservative targeting, it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 and shut down operations.
2. Veterans Affairs
In October 2011, after veterans complained of delays in getting medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, McCarthy called for an investigation. "I'm tired of putting a Band-Aid on it," he said. "This is a structural problem. This is not just someone slipping through the cracks."
3. Fast and Furious
In May 2012, after a 15-month investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, McCarthy demanded then-Attorney General Eric Holder hand over documents about Fast and Furious, a botched Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation aimed at catching illegal gunrunning by Mexican drug cartels.
"As co-equal branches of the U.S. Government, the relationship between the Legislative and Executive branches must be predicated on honest communications and cannot be clouded by allegations of obstruction," McCarthy and other House Republican leaders told Holder. "If necessary, the House will act to fulfill our Constitutional obligations in the coming weeks."
4. Insurance conscience protections
In a series of letters and press statements dating back to 2014, McCarthy repeatedly called for the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate why California was forcing insurers to cover reproductive health care, which he said violated religious freedom rules.
"Civil rights are for everyone, no matter your politics or faith. Yet California law discriminated against pro-life citizens, trying to make them complicit in the brutal injustice of abortion," he said in a January 2019 statement.
5. Planned Parenthood
In November 2015, McCarthy defended an investigation by the House into whether Planned Parenthood and other groups violated the law by making fetal tissue available for scientific research. He said the panel investigating was "where all pieces of information can come forward. We'll see how that plays out."
A Planned Parenthood fact sheet notes that "none of the multiple, heavily partisan congressional investigations — including a select panel created for that sole purpose — concluded that Planned Parenthood violated any laws."
6. 2020 election integrity
After Donald Trump falsely claimed that widespread election fraud and cheating cost him the 2020 presidential election, McCarthy suggested an investigation was needed into the allegations and reforms were needed to fix nonexistent problems with the electoral system.
"Since Election Day, millions of Americans have shared concerns about the integrity of our nation's electoral process," he said in a Jan. 7 press release. "Congress has the responsibility to listen to these concerns to help heal our nation, investigate, and work with states to make necessary reforms to our electoral process, particularly when its integrity comes into question."
7. Empty shipping containers
On March 9, McCarthy and a large number of colleagues from both parties asked the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate shipping companies over why they were not filling empty containers with agricultural products for export.
"As many of these agricultural exports are from California's 23rd Congressional District, swift action by the FMC to investigate VOCC compliance with U.S. shipping and other laws is critical for communities in the Central Valley," said a press release issued by his office.
8. IRS 'targeting' conservatives
On May 7, 2014, McCarthy voted in favor of a resolution demanding a special counsel investigate "the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups by the Internal Revenue Service." A month earlier, a ThinkProgress investigation documented that the IRS had actually targeted progressive groups more than conservative ones. No special prosecutor was appointed.
After House Republican-run committees mounted five separate investigations into the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, McCarthy voted in May 2014 to appoint a special select committee to further investigate the matter. In September 2015, he told Sean Hannity that the special committee had been a strategy to weaken Hillary Clinton's poll numbers: "Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.