Ex-Staffer Settles Federal Lawsuit Against Benghazi Committee, Gowdy

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December 19, 2016

A former staffer for the House Select Committee on Benghazi who'd alleged he was fired in part for not focusing his investigative efforts more explicitly on Hillary Clinton announced Monday that he had settled a federal lawsuit against the committee and its chairman.

The original suit, filed in November 2015, claimed Bradley Podliska was being “singled out” because of his military service, which had taken him away from committee work, and because “he was unwilling to go along with the hyper-focus on the State Department and Secretary Clinton."

By March 2016, Podliska had dialed back the lawsuit against the committee and its chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), removing any mention of Clinton and focusing instead on his claims of discrimination against a member of the military, in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

“I am pleased that I have satisfactorily settled my lawsuit against the Benghazi Committee and Chairman Gowdy,” Podliska said in a statement. “I am happy to move beyond this dispute, and I will continue to serve my country and do whatever I can do to advance the security and interests of our nation."

Podliska did not seek monetary damages in the suit, but instead requested “a declaration that Chairman Gowdy made false and defamatory statements” about him and an injunction barring Gowdy from repeating those claims in the future. A release from Podliska’s attorneys did not disclose the terms of the settlement.

Spokespeople for the Benghazi committee and Gowdy did not immediately respond Monday to TPM's requests for comment.

The committee previously said Podliska’s termination was the result of his own “improper partiality and animus” and that it was “legal, justified and warranted — on multiple levels.”

Still, Podliska's allegations came at a politically inconvenient time for Republicans on the committee. Just days earlier, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had bragged to Fox News' Sean Hannity that Clinton’s poll numbers declined following the establishment of the Benghazi committee, which many viewed as an admission that the committee’s primary goal was to damage Clinton politically.

When he first went public with his allegations against the committee, Podliska emphasized that he did not support Clinton personally, telling CNN he was “more on the libertarian side” and that he would “vote for the Republican nominee in 2016."