Top Republican who led Benghazi panel used $150,000 of taxpayer money to settle claim with a fired staffer

  • In 2016, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina reportedly used $150,000 in taxpayer money to settle a veteran-discrimination and retaliation claim with a former aide.
  • The ex-staffer, an officer in the Air Force Reserves, alleged that Gowdy had discriminated against him after he took leave for his service-related obligations.
  • At one point, the aide also alleged that Gowdy's high-profile investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack was taking a partisan turn and focusing on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina reportedly settled a veteran discrimination and retaliation claim from a former aide for $150,000 in taxpayer funds, according to a Washington Post report published Friday.

The confidential settlement was identified in an Office of Compliance report released on Friday. The Post said it was able to link a mention about the settlements contained in the documents to the claims made by Bradley Podliska, the former staffer, identified by The Post.

Podliska, who was fired in 2015 from the House Benghazi committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in part for his unwillingness to engage in what he believed was a partisan investigation into Hillary Clinton's time as US secretary of state. Podliska alleged that the high-profile investigation focused its attention on Clinton and the State Department after discovering she had used a private email server to conduct government business.

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Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton arrives to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes her seat prior to testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to continue its investigation on the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton arrives to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Clinton said that she accepted responsibility for a lethal 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya and that she sought afterward to improve security for State Department workers abroad, as the House Benghazi panel investigating the incident began a hearing that may prove a turning point for her presidential campaign. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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As part of his veteran-discrimination claim, Podliska, an Air Force Reserves officer, alleged that he was discriminated against when he took leave for his service-related obligations.

In October 2015, Gowdy claimed that Podliska was fired for mishandling classified information. Podliska alleged that Gowdy had defamed him and harmed his career prospects, according to the Associated Press. The case was eventually settled in 2016, and the terms of the settlement were reportedly secret at the time.

Peter Romer-Friedman, Podliska's attorney, declined to discuss details of the settlement when contacted by The Post, but he noted that he was unaware of any similar cases that had been settled within the last five years.

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