The new executive director of Benghazi select committee has a somewhat unexpected background: he lobbied for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Philip Kiko, the Benghazi panel director chosen by Select Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Thursday, represented the ACLU on Voting Rights Act issues in 2013. He also registered to represent the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a group of mainly liberal organizations like the People for the American Way, Southern Poverty Law Center, the SEIU and other big labor organizations.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) praised Kiko’s work in a statement saying, “He has a proven record of effective leadership and management, and I am pleased to have him on our team as we conduct a serious, fact-driven investigation to ensure our fellow Americans know the full truth about what happened in Benghazi.”
Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) also praised Kiko remarking in a statement:
“Phil Kiko is a man of unquestioned integrity with a record of distinguished service to the House and the American people. His appointment today is further proof of Chairman Gowdy’s commitment to an investigation that is serious, fact-based, and professional. The American people deserve the full truth about what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and there is no better person to help lead this effort than Phil.”
Kiko, who previously served as a chief of staff for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and as chief of staff and general counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, presently works as the vice chairman of a bipartisan lobbying firm called the Smith-Free Group. PJ Media first reported in August of 2013 that Kiko’s lobbying disclosure form showed he was working for the ACLU on the Voting Rights Act.
Some Republican members have already expressed doubt with the future of the Benghazi Select Committee, recalling the reluctance of Speaker Boehner and other GOP members who did not want the committee to begin with. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) told Slate’s Dave Weigel, “Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) (R-MI) fought against this for a year and a half. They used to stand up in conference and say, ‘Quit worrying about it, we’ve got it all taken care of.'”