In the first week of October 2015, Kevin McCarthy publicly admitted on Fox News that the Select Committee on Benghazi was conceived and executed solely to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
In response to the outrageous admission by the once presumed future Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, the Agenda Project released a campaign, The New McCarthyism, exposing Representative McCarthy and his conservative colleagues for embracing tactics straight out of the “red scare” era.
The campaign was comprised of an ad and a petition calling for an ethics investigation into the Select Committee on Benghazi. Within the first few hours, the petition gathered thousands of signatures. Within two days, The New McCarthyism ad had received over 200,000 views.
Also within those two days of this campaign, the Agenda Project was able to collaborate with Representative Alan Grayson to file an ethics complaint against the presumed future speaker. The complaint was filed against Kevin McCarthy and Trey Gowdy for misappropriating taxpayer funds for political purposes.
The Select Committee on Benghazi has cost the United States more than $4.6 million dollars and has lasted more than 500 days. That total that does not include costs related to the independent Accountability Review Board; the eight previous reports by seven congressional committees; the time, money, and resources consumed by federal agencies to comply with Select Committee requests; or the opportunity cost of not spending this money elsewhere, like improving security for our diplomatic officers abroad.
The term “the new McCarthyism”, coined by the Agenda Project, went viral and was widely used by journalists and the media when discussing the tactics that Congress was using that were at best unethical and at worst illegal.
A single day after, Representative Alan Grayson worked together to file the ethics complaint, Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name from consideration to be the Speaker of the House.
The 72 hour campaign was a huge victory for the progressive movement as it proved that scare tactics have no place in our Congress. When policy makers misuse their constitutionally granted powers to pursue personal vendettas, those actions will not go unpunished.